Heathcare Cost Industry Insights

“Healthcare strategy 2015 — Back to the basics: 12 key thoughts,” by Scott Becker, Becker’s Hospital Review, Jan. 6, 2015 offers basic management recommendations for controlling costs.

These include:

  • Understanding the “cash cows.” For instance, “two successful community hospitals excel in orthopedics (a southern hospital) and neurosurgery (a Midwestern hospital). The leadership team knows the exact revenues and margins these specialties and practices meant to the hospitals. Each consistently doubles down to protect those revenues.”
  • Leadership should “devote a certain percentage of resources, maybe 25 percent, to new initiatives and areas that can become tomorrow’s stars.” The three core questions to ask are: “What is the system going to be great in, where does it make its money and who is its customer?”
  • “There is no single strategy.” Health care systems need to apply and test new ideas. Becker cites one hospital that is focusing major resources “around better use of its electronic medical records and better development of systems to deliver after-care notes to patients.”

“Kaiser, Providence, Ascension leaders share cost-cutting strategies,” by Leslie Small, FierceHealthFinance, March 27, 2015
Kaiser Permanente is moving from individual scheduling systems to an organization-wide system. It is also trying to “reduce employee overtime by 5 percent as well as look at other ways it can reduce workforce-related overhead.”

  • Providence Health & Services “seeks to consolidate its IT, supply chain and finances in order to reduce administrative costs.”
  • Ascension has started a “value-creation office to cut costs, information governance to set standards for the normalization of data across the organization and a shared-service division to “manage all the back-office stuff.” It has also “pulled all of its physicians into its clinical holdings organization with one set of leadership and one revenue cycle system.”

Deloitte University Press, article, discusses how the Internet of Things can help with costs:

  • For instance, “Given that digitally collected patient-generated data are more reliable than the self-reported alternative, IoT applications can be critical to improving and personalizing health care, even encouraging behavior changes before they result in illness.”
  • “Not only can IoT technologies help organizations improve health management, the personalization of care and improved patient engagement through IoT technology will make health organizations more competitive and attract more customers in an ever more consumer-driven market.”