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Considering Cost and Quality

By Lena J. Weiner  
   November 18, 2015

In our June 2015 Intelligence Report, 80% of healthcare leaders indicated that cost containment efforts were not negatively impacting quality of care, although 10% said quality had declined. HealthLeaders Media Council members discuss efforts to maintain quality.

This article first appeared in the December 2015 issue of HealthLeaders magazine.

 

Chris McLean
Chief Financial Officer
Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare
Memphis, TN

We're big believers in the balanced scorecard. We have financial measures, quality measures, and service measures that measure consistently in reporting. We don't just report the financials each month—we track over 100 quality measures, as well as service measures like patient satisfaction and employee engagement.

We keep an eye on measures as they roll out. If we see a decline in our quality measures, we do a deep dive into what's causing it, and if any cost reductions are part of the problem, we'll make adjustments. And one of our mantras is that the easiest way to reduce costs is to not add unnecessary costs.

Benchmarking is a big part of our quality control and cost containment. We don't just benchmark against ourselves, but against other not-for-profit and even some for-profit healthcare entities. We're open to learning as many best practices as we can so we can implement them.

Change management is always the hardest part of cost containment—we have to convince ourselves that the goals are achievable, and convince our leaders and the frontline staff that the changes make sense. Even when transforming just one area of a given hospital, you must stay diligent to ensure the change is properly implemented.

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Lena J. Weiner is an associate editor at HealthLeaders Media.

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