3 Actions That Could Save Community Hospitals

In the new era, data will be king, and if you can't show you're at least as good—and as cheap—as your competitors, you're likely not going to be around long. Here are three actions community hospitals should take to remain viable long-term, according to Skip Cimino, president and CEO of Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton in NJ.

2 comments on "3 Actions That Could Save Community Hospitals"
scott Bork (12/14/2010 at 5:26 AM)

Sorry, but I can't agree with this article largely embedded with advertisement for the big box guys, why everyone should connect with this hospital or any other large facility. The killer is the ending statement "If you ignore all this opportunity for innovation, perhaps you still rest comfortably, believing you can make up all your disadvantages with a family feel and a local vibe". First of all you are assuming the smaller hospital is a disadvantage! Ask the public and you will be surprised to find more and more patients are doing exactly the opposite of your proposal. They are choosing the smaller hospital for just that[INVALID]a local commitment to serving the community they live in with yes, a dedicated team with yes a very real family feel. The smugness is revolting, but given the state of medical errors, big system inefficiencies, a profound difference in quality outcomes and lower infection rates, and the future may be exactly opposite[INVALID]developing niche hospitals focused on (sorry to say this) family feel and local vibe. Small hospitals can't offer the high level neurosurgery or the open hearts[INVALID]yet. 5 years ago we shipped everyone for a heart cath intervention. Today thousands are successfully done each day in small hospitals with excellent outcomes, against the same rhetoric from years ago, saying the same thing that it couldn't be done. The future of healthcare lies in collaboration, but not the smugness that the family feel doesn't count. It certainly does, and it will continue to change the direction of the big box stores in the future.
bob (12/10/2010 at 4:32 PM)

One modest comment on the first of Skip's good recommended actions for community hospitals: It is more important to recognize that any community hospital is already involved in one or more hospital systems than it is to decide to join one. Anyone examining the behavior of the patients and the members of the medical staff of any community hospital is able to identify how closely the community hospital is involved with one or more systems, even when there is no formal communication at all between the management teams, Boards of Trustees, and Medical Staffs. .Much more important than "joining" is developing formal collaborative agreements that build on existing relationships and serve the self interests of the community hospital and of the more complex institution or institutions in the larger city, preferably a teaching hospital. That was the original idea of the Hill-Burton Program of the l940's and 50's and of the Regional Medical Program of the 1960's and '70's. Much has changed since then, but there still is no need for the community hospital to give up its identity and to make its commitment to its community subservient to the larger hospital's basic interests. In general, the relationship will be better for both organizations if based on recognition of the greater value of interdependent, enlightened formal collaboration, reflecting mutual self-interest, rather than any other form of "joining". For more details, take a look t my web site "sigmondpapers.org" or telephone 215-561-5730.


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