Healthcare management professionals face a growing number of challenges in the near future, with healthcare reform and the eventual implementation of ICD-10 leaving some scrambling to figure out how to operate in this changing world. No matter what the challenges faced by the healthcare industry, effective and informed leadership is vital to making sure that things go smoothly for every person adapting to the changing work environment.

Customer centered care and the future of the industry 
According to Becker’s Hospital Review, the business model used by the average hospital is evolving and hospital leadership ought to be evolving with it. The source goes on to say that independent thinking is crucial to the healthcare management skills of leaders in the industry. Being able to anticipate not only that change is coming, but what that change will entail, is vital to allowing professionals to stay ahead of the curve in a rapidly changing industry.

Establishing and maintaining relationships with the vendors that serve the hospital and the customers who seek care there will help hospital management stay on top of existing and emerging problems. It can also help make them aware of concerns they never would have thought of. Seeing things from a fresh perspective is the perfect way to generate new ideas.

Communication is key
Creating a hospital environment in which the patient is the driving force behind decisions made by management will separate the successful operations from the ones that fall behind as the industry moves forward. It may seem more like the type of strategy a restaurant would employ, but placing an emphasis on customer service is a great way to build your business, whether you’re serving up chicken wings or administering blood tests. The source went on to note that members of hospital leadership can increase their focus on patient service by simply discussing care options with patients, and ensuring hospital administrators spend time in patients’ rooms or in the hospital waiting areas to gain a better understanding of what the wants and needs of the people they serve are.

Healthcare IT News pointed out that although communication has always been an important aspect of healthcare management, the ways in which people communicate have evolved to a level not seen in the past. Interconnectivity has changed the way healthcare professionals obtain and disseminate information. The source goes on to say that whereas in the past communication skills were defined more by a person’s style of communication, in the emerging information-driven culture, greater value will be placed on how much data is acquired and how quickly. In addition, healthcare professionals inundated with a greater flow of information will find that they need to be more discerning when deciding what information is important and what is just noise.

Adapting to a changing industry 
Healthcare IT News acknowledged that innovation in healthcare has always been a driving force of the industry and something that would often set a good healthcare organization apart from a great one. The source noted that in light of changing business models and models of care, the mood in the healthcare industry is becoming “innovate or die.” Success will hinge on the adaptability of hospital management to new ideas regarding how to do business and how to manage patient care.

One new model of healthcare that professionals are working to adapt to is population management. A patient may visit the hospital sporadically over the years and may fail to keep regular appointments with their primary care doctor. Population management is a way for doctors to improve the overall quality of care for patients by coordinating care in such a way that a patient’s health issues are addressed across the board. It covers a broad range of ailments that are unlikely to come up during one visit that the patient is attending to treat a specific issue.

A patient may come into the hospital to have their broken arm set in a cast, and if information is properly coordinated and patient care managed effectively, the doctor who sees the patient may see that he or she is overdue for a check-up or has reached the age where certain health screenings become routine, such as mammograms for women and prostate exams for men. Managing populations effectively will be key to being an innovator in the industry and to improving patient care.

Plan ahead or plan to fail
Creating a tightly managed and economically efficient business model is increasingly important in the healthcare industry. According to Becker Hospital Review, the most successful healthcare organizations will be the ones that are able to cut costs and provide efficient care without compromising quality. The source recommends setting measurable goals, and doing things such as developing 90-day plans for every person in a position of management in the organization. They in turn can provide their staff with time sensitive plans, so the entire business is well-organized and on the same page. If the hospital leadership is organized it will help set the tone for everybody, and allow management and others to be more accountable for their actions.

McKesson

About the author

McKesson Business Performance Services offers services and consulting to help hospitals, health systems, and physician practices improve business performance, boost margins and transition successfully to value-based care.