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5 Stories for Business-Savvy Nurse Leaders

Analysis  |  By Jennifer Thew RN  
   December 14, 2018

To be effective in today's healthcare industry, nurse leaders' knowledge must extend beyond traditional nursing issues.

I often get asked, "What do nurse leaders care about?" My answer: "Everything." Modern nurse leaders don't have the luxury of remaining in a hospital-based bubble. Among population health initiatives, changing reimbursement models, and more diverse practice settings, nurse leaders must care about and understand everything from finance to ambulatory care to IT needs. In addition to dealing with traditional nursing issues such as staffing and nursing skill mix, they must grasp the bigger picture of business strategy, organizational goals and outcomes, and healthcare system mergers to be effective leaders.

There is so much information of which nurse leaders need to be aware, and HealthLeaders can help. Here are five stories from HealthLeaders editors on business topics that nurse leaders should read to stay up-to-date on industry developments.


1. 3 Ways Your Hospital Can Contain Escalating Drug Prices and Shortages

Hospitals across the country have seen the effects of drug shortages and sky-high medication prices and have struggled with access to inpatient medications as a result. So how can hospital executives and clinicians address growing costs and spotty medication supply? HealthLeaders editor John Commins spoke with pharmacy directors at three health systems grappling with these issues.

Commins writes that successful systems communicate the extent and cost of the problem with clinical and administrative stakeholders and monitor medication usage daily on a patient-by-patient, dosage-by-dosage basis.


2. Hospitals Sue HHS Over Site-Neutral Outpatient Payments

Outpatient payment policy changes set to take effect in January 2018 have spurred two national hospital groups and three individual hospitals to sue the Trump administration. The changes, which the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services finalized last month, will result in a significant reimbursement reduction for hospital-owned outpatient departments.

HealthLeaders editor Steven Porter writes: "Central to the suit is the difference between 'excepted' and 'non-excepted' off-campus hospital provider-based departments. The final rule for 2019 'effectively abolishes any distinction' between the two groups, resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars in payment reductions for hospital-owned departments that would otherwise be grandfathered into a higher reimbursement tier."

The suit claims that rather than making the changes in budget-neutral fashion as required, CMS instead finalized changes that would result in a $380 million reduction next year followed by a $760 million reduction in 2020.


3. Healthcare IT Investment is Overvalued, But Will Increase Next Year

Healthcare professionals' love-hate relationship with technology continues.

HealthLeaders editor Jack O'Brien writes about a new survey released by KPMG-Leavitt Partners that found while more than 60% of healthcare professionals view healthcare IT asset prices as overvalued, they also expect the subsector to grow faster than the overall healthcare market

"Thirty-four percent of respondents favored investing in healthcare IT, leading the way over subsectors such as care management, home health services and retail-centric medical groups, among others," he writes.

Driving forces behind healthcare IT investment include increased consumerism, increases in patients receiving care in ambulatory and outpatient settings, shifting payment models, and corporate disruptors.


4. Streamlined Billing at Medical Group Results in 97% Overall Patient Satisfaction

No one likes medical bills. Westmed Medical Group, which is managed by Westmed Practice Partners and has locations in New York and Connecticut, had proof of that based on its patient relations hotline. Westmed’s hotline was tracking many complaints and questions about the organization's billing process.

To improve patients' billing experience, Westmed invested in technology that allows for simple, user-friendly bill pay.

"In an era where patient satisfaction is prioritized for everything from the clinical experience to the cleanliness of the waiting room, the billing experience has largely been left behind," writes HealthLeaders editor Alexandra Wilson Pecci.

Since Westmed Medical Group introduced a new patient payment and engagement platform, which has provided a process for streamlining the billing process, it has experienced a 36% increase in dollars collected, a 59% reduction in time to collect, and a 23% increase in patient satisfaction to reach 97% overall patient satisfaction.


5. 5 Strategies for Quality Improvement Project Success

In an ever-evolving healthcare environment, organizations are finding they need to become more efficient in all areas of the business.

"Quality improvement project management has become an essential capability in operational areas ranging from clinical care to finance to innovation," writes HealthLeaders editor Christopher Cheney.

To help health systems and other healthcare organizations implement quality improvement initiatives, The Institute for Healthcare Improvement has developed a QI Project Management Tool.  

The QI Project Management Tool consists of five elements: frontload the work, build the project team, set the pace, make the project easy, and start with the end in mind. It also includes strategies to manage quality improvement projects and ideas to try within each strategy.

Jennifer Thew, RN, is the senior nursing editor at HealthLeaders.


Nurse leaders must be well-versed in healthcare business issues to achieve organizational goals and outcomes.

Quality improvement is important to organizational strategy.

Billing can affect patient satisfaction scores.

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