The healthcare industry is under intense pressure to cut costs while improving the quality of patient care. From hospital executives to clinician leaders, value-based care transitions are top of mind, as are increasingly stringent regulations. McKesson experts address four of the top challenges facing today's healthcare leaders:

  • Managing cost of ownership
  • Improving productivity and workflow
  • Supporting compliance
  • Transitioning to value-based care

These influencers share their insights on everything from utilizing multi-disciplinary care teams to methods of improving communication with patients and their families. Read their expertise to better position healthcare organizations to counter the top challenges in 2015.

2015 Healthcare Challenges

CHALLENGE #1: Managing the Cost of Ownership

Can you give one example of how you plan to creatively control cost of ownership in 2015?

Erkan Akyuz, President, Imaging and Workflow Solutions at McKesson Technology Solutions

“Controlling costs is critical for today's healthcare leaders, especially as healthcare organizations merge with physician offices, clinics and other care providers. In addition, the transition to value-based care and its impact to reimbursement also poses a challenge. As healthcare systems go through these transitions, leaders can help drive down costs by improving the quality and cost effectiveness of care delivery by consolidating information and breaking down data silos, especially in their diagnostic imaging departments. By investing in interoperable solutions, healthcare systems can acquire and consolidate facilities without the expense of replacing an existing picture archiving and communication solution (PACS). Furthermore, this change helps improve efficiencies, ensures the relevant data is accessible at the right time, by the right care professional and leverages both technical and professional resources within a healthcare system.”

CHALLENGE #2: Improving Productivity and Workflow

What is your greatest workflow obstacle in 2015 and how are you addressing it?

Tomer Levy, General Manager, Workflow and Infrastructure, Imaging and Workflow Solutions at McKesson Technology Solutions

“The move from analogues to digital has fully matured and many facilities are at the final stages of becoming paperless. This is a huge step forward that opens the door for many opportunities, but not without challenges. Maybe the biggest problem related to the amount of data is how to make it meaningful. Hospital executives should look for solutions that can quickly sort through large amounts of data and are able to bring concise and relevant information to the point of care, so clinician's decision making is improved. To achieve this vision, solution providers need to have strong clinical understanding and technical capabilities in Natural Language Processing and Analytics.

A second problem that is emerging is the cluttering of the clinician's desktop. There are more and more clinical and administrative applications that consume real estate on the desktop of the clinician. The applications are integrated in the backend, at best, but the end user still needs to do multiple logins, move between contexts, re-enter missing information and go through a fragmented workflow. Hospital executives need to look for solutions that can orchestrate the workflow.”

CHALLENGE #3: Supporting Compliance

What is your top regulatory challenge in 2015 and how are you planning to respond?

Ohad Arazi, General Manager, Cardiology at McKesson Technology Solutions

“When the new ICD-10 system is implemented many changes will accompany the transition, including a dramatic increase in the number of codes. The increase will be helpful to practitioners, including those in radiology, because it allows them to improve the specificity they use when documenting why a patient was seen and what care was given. However, updating to ICD-10 for radiology requires in-depth work and preparation by practitioners. Healthcare leaders must be prepared to adjust schedules and workloads. Here are five steps to help executives prepare for the change:

  1. Assess hospital readiness
    • Evaluate staff competencies and assemble a team
  2. Identify transitional challenges
    • Understand the timeframes associated with implementation plan
    • Develop communication tools to build awareness
    • Identify what education applies to each type of healthcare professional
  3. Gradually expose staff to change
    • Incorporate education into daily processes to increase the likelihood of retaining a greater amount of knowledge.
  4. Establish meaningful measurements of success
    • Implement meaningful milestones that include key measures that define success such as:
      • How has documentation improved (or hindered) coding and reimbursement?
      • How does data management and use affect patient outcomes?
      • Have you seen a change in the type or number of procedures?
    • Be prepared to modify educational plans if the results are not what are expected
  5. Keep an open line of communication with vendors
    • Ensure you have a contingency plan in place in case you are not ready by the ICD-10 deadline

Finally, help orchestrate clinician and operational workflows by leveraging vendor-neutral solutions that enable interoperability between existing systems, with flexible quality and communication workflows that help in the transition from volume- to value-based care.”

CHALLENGE #4: Transitioning from Volume to Value-based Care

What is one step you recommend in 2015 to prepare for the transition to value-based care?

Joe Biegel, Vice President, Corporate Strategy and Business Development at McKesson Technology Solutions

“As the core diagnostic imaging process moves from being a revenue generator to a cost line item, these actions need to start now to prepare hospital medical corporation leadership for the next 5 years of transition.

First, leaders need to evaluate baseline current performance along these three lines:

  1. Quality: Is the diagnostic output of our team where it should be and are the right people doing the right jobs? Strategies would include peer review, cross departmental workflows, sub-specialization workflows, etc.
  2. Appropriateness: Are we doing the right studies? This has two critical parts: a) making sure that “might as well medicine” is not the only reason for a study and b) making sure that exams that will have a real impact on outcomes being performed.
  3. Cost and risk: Do we understand and do we have a process to manage the ongoing costs of our imaging operations and are we looking at ways to continuously improve costs and reduce risk without impacting outcomes? This needs to include data management, workflow optimization, imaging resource optimization and security.

Second, hospital leadership should spend time understanding how their customers (referral physicians/ patients/payers) perceive the value they are providing and look for ways to enhance it.”

These health IT insights originally appeared in the ebook 13 Insights for Conquering Healthcare Challenges in 2015 from the Experts co-sponsored by Conserus and McKesson.


About the author

McKesson editorial staff is committed to offering innovative approaches and insights so that our customers can get the most out of the health care solutions they have and identify areas for operational improvement, revenue growth and improved patient satisfaction. If you have a suggestion for a blog topic you’d like to see covered, let us know in the comments.