Earlier this month, U.S. News & World Report held its second annual “Hospital of Tomorrow” conference in Washington DC. In a special report available on their website (link below), you can access conference presentations and other materials.

An executive roundtable discussion, “Navigating a New Era in Health Care,” provides valuable insights. Other topics addressed at the conference include the following:

>> Value-Based Healthcare Delivery
>> Provider and Patient Engagement
>> Data, Information and Transformation
>> The Changing Face of the Healthcare Ecosystem
>> Population Health Management

Across the country, hospitals are experimenting with new ways to deliver healthcare, including sending doctors on house calls and putting nurses in community facilities such as the YMCA. Other experiments include screening patients for mental and behavioral health problems, which often interfere with treatments.

Integrated health systems have an advantage in the new environment because, for example, they can more effectively analyze electronic health records and other data to identify patients that would benefit from home-based visits. Often, patients with heart failure, pneumonia and other conditions can be treated in their own homes more effectively and efficiently. Technology developments, such as telemedicine and telemonitoring, are giving clinicians real-time access to patients as well as the ability to easily check vital signs between visits.

For more information on topics covered at the U.S. News & World Report’s “Hospital of Tomorrow” conference, visit: http://health.usnews.com/health-news/hospital-of-tomorrow
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In a report issued last week, Altarum’s Center for Sustainable Health Spending (CSHS) noted a 50% increase in job growth across the healthcare industry, which added an average 22,600 new jobs per month over the previous six months. The report states that “solid continued growth seems likely” because the recent rate of job openings is the highest seen since before the economic downturn began.

CSHS issues monthly reports (link below) that are “designed to address significant shortcomings in the availability of timely economic data on the health sector, including employment, spending, and prices.”

Charles Roehrig, director of CSHS, stated, “Two months ago, we were seeing no acceleration in healthcare employment. However, with the upward revision to July and strong August and September growth, the picture has transformed into a significant jump in the second quarter that has continued through the third quarter.”

Highlights of the September 2014 report include the following:

>> Hospitals gained 6,200 jobs during September, compared with a 24-month average gain of 1,400.

>> Ambulatory healthcare services added 14,200 jobs last month, which is below the 24-month average gain of 16,000.

>> Ambulatory services accounted for 45% of healthcare employment, hospitals accounted for 33%, and nursing and residential care accounted for 22%.

>> Over the past 12 months, outpatient care centers grew at the fastest rate, 4.8%, while adding 33,000 jobs.

Altarum is a non-profit research organization with clients in the public and private sectors. For more information and to access the CSHS monthly reports, visit: http://altarum.org/our-work/cshs-health-sector-economic-indicators-briefs
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It’s helpful to stay informed on healthcare industry lawsuits because they indicate potential pitfalls in executive management decisions. Becker’s Hospital Review regularly publishes articles on legal actions occurring in the healthcare industry, and last week they provided a roundup of recent court activities, including the following:

In Pennsylvania, a group of hospitals has initiated a lawsuit against insurer Highmark and its subsidiary Keystone Health Plan West over reduced reimbursements for Medicare Advantage patients.

In Massachusetts, nurses have sued Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston for a policy that would require nurses to receive flu shots to keep their jobs.

In Alabama, a federal judge refused to dismiss a class-action lawsuit against Flowers Hospital over an employee who stole patient data.

In New Jersey, the State Supreme Court ruled that hospitals aren’t required to release documentation gathered during an internal examination of malpractice cases.

In California, the advocacy group Consumer Watchdog has sued Cigna and Blue Shield of California over narrow networks; the lawsuits allege that hospital and physician networks offered by the insurers are insufficient, and that consumers were provided inaccurate information about in-network providers.

Also in California, 33 Anthem Blue Cross members filed a lawsuit against Anthem Blue Cross of California, saying the company misrepresented the size of its networks and the benefits provided in plans offered under the Affordable Care Act.

You can learn more about these lawsuits and others at Becker’s Hospital Review: http://www.beckershospitalreview.com/legal-regulatory-issues/10-latest-healthcare-industry-lawsuits-settlements-oct-3.html
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According to an article published last week by Reuters, 40% of healthcare organizations reported a criminal cyber-attack in 2013, which is a dramatic increase since 2009, when only 20% reported being attacked.

A major reason for the increasing attacks against the healthcare industry is that medical information typically contains data such as names, birth dates, policy numbers and billing information—and this data is much more valuable than stolen cred card data, up to 10 to 20 times more valuable on the underground exchanges where hackers sell the data.

Stolen health data can also be used to buy pharmaceuticals and even medical equipment, which can then be resold. Additionally, a patient ID number can be combined with a fraudulent provider number, which can then be used to file sham claims with health insurers.

Compounding the problem is that, unlike credit card data theft, medical identity theft can go unreported or unnoticed for years, giving criminals a much longer time to use the data. As the article states, “Healthcare providers and insurers must publicly disclose data breaches affecting more than 500 people, but there are no laws requiring criminal prosecution. As a result, the total cost of cyber-attacks on the healthcare system is difficult to pin down.”

This is a subject that should be top-of-mind for hospital executives beyond the IT department. To learn more, see the Reuters article at: http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/09/24/us-cybersecurity-hospitals-idUSKCN0HJ21I20140924
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The American Hospital Association (AHA) published a report last week on how continuing medical education (CME) can be better utilized by hospitals as a strategic resource. In addition to using CME primarily for sharing medical knowledge, the AHA recommends it should also be used to develop “professional and institutional competencies that might be necessary to transform care, improve outcomes, and practice efficiently and effectively in the hospital setting.”

Hospitals spend almost $1 billion annually to fund CME, accounting for about 35 percent of all CME and 38 percent of all CME hours. Increasingly, hospitals are looking for ways to derive more value from those investments. In a recent survey, AHA members indicated there was significant room for improvement in areas such as emphasizing clinical integration, system-based care delivery, and communication across the continuum of care.

After examining the value that CME delivers to hospitals, the AHA published its findings in a 20-page report that includes insights on how to improve CME. In the report (available at the link below), the AHA identifies case studies that illustrate how hospitals are using CME to improve performance and better align the components of healthcare delivery.

The overarching theme of this report is an AHA call-to-action for “greater use of performance-based CME” to adapt to the changing landscape in healthcare delivery. You can download the AHA report at: http://www.ahaphysicianforum.org/cmereport
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America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), the trade association that represents over 1,300 health insurance companies, made newsworthy comments last week on the relationship between hospital M&A activity and rising costs for patients and employers.

AHIP Vice President of Communications, Brendan Buck, is quoted in a September 12 article published in the Chicago Sun-Times, saying, “Bigger hospitals really only mean bigger bills for patients,” and “consolidation promises greater efficiency, but all that ever materializes is greater costs.”

The comments were spurred by a proposed merger in the Chicago area between Advocate Health Care and NorthShore University HealthSystem. The combined entity would result in forming the 11th largest tax-exempt hospital operator in the country.

According to the Sun-Times article, insurers are becoming “outspoken critics of the hospital merger wave,” and with the increase in M&A activity insurers “see providers of medical care battling back against value-based care.”

The issues are plain to see: bigger hospitals have greater leverage when negotiating with insurers and employers; at the same time, larger hospitals can limit the choices available to patients, which can also increase out-of-pocket costs for healthcare consumers.

Also, the Chicago-area business community views the proposed merger as a negative development because reduced competition will “negatively impact prices.”

But, what does the data say? Two studies, one by the National Institute for Health Care Management, University of California, Berkeley (2011), and another published by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (2012), found that less competition and hospital consolidation resulted in higher prices.

For more information on those studies and related information, see the article in the Chicago Sun-Times at: http://politics.suntimes.com/article/chicago/hospital-mergers-may-lead-higher-prices/fri-09122014-1055pm
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The Harvard Business Review published a blog last week titled, “Nine Habits That Lead to Terrible Decisions.” The authors conducted a study to determine the factors that contribute to poor decisions. After analyzing data from 50,000 leaders, they found nine factors that can contribute to a bad decision.

Their analysis compared leaders who were “perceived to be making poor decisions” with leaders who were “perceived to be making very good decisions.” The list below is prioritized in order, starting with the most significant factor:

1) Laziness – regardless of the “perception versus reality” factor, these leaders were perceived to be sloppy in their work and unwilling to work hard.

2) Not anticipating unexpected events – it’s critical to develop a list of the problems that may arise from your decision.

3) Indecisiveness – when analysis takes too long, decisions get delayed and opportunities are missed; some leaders believe that a single mistake will ruin their careers, and as a result, they avoid prudent risk-taking.

4) Remaining locked in the past – it’s important to be innovative, and that requires looking for new approaches to solving problems.

5) Having no strategic alignment – every key decision must be part of an overarching strategy.

6) Over-dependence – if collaborative decision making gets bogged down, then act independently.

7) Isolation – it’s critical to collect input from experts, which requires good networking skills.

8) Lack of technical depth – complexity is increasing, and the best executives develop deep expertise, and they know how to find the right talent to help them.

9) Failure to communicate – sometimes good decisions lead to bad results merely due to poor communication about the decision itself, including why the decision was made and how it benefits the organization.

By keeping these factors in mind, you can improve your approach to executive decision making. To learn more, visit the Harvard Business Review blog at: http://blogs.hbr.org/2014/09/9-habits-that-lead-to-terrible-decisions/
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In an article published last month, Billian’s HealthDATA noted a 37% increase in executive moves during the first six months of 2014 compared to the same period in 2013. These moves included CEOs, COOs, CFOs, CMOs, CNOs, VPs and Director-level positions.

To help determine how hospitals fill their new CXO slots, Billian’s teamed up with Porter Research to analyze trends found in a sample of 384 executive changes. Some of their findings include the following:

● 60% of hospital placements involved hiring an outside candidate
● 58% of new CEO hires were “stolen” from other hospitals
● 27% of new COO hires were “stolen” from other hospitals
● 44% of internal CEO promotions came from the COO position
● 17% of new COO positions were promotions from the CNO position

Also available at Billian’s website are a series of “Top 10” lists that you’ll find informative, such as:

● Largest hospital acquisitions ranked by bed size
● Top physician groups by number of MDs
● Top hospitals by net patient revenue

To learn more, visit the web resources linked below:

Hospital Hiring Trends:

Top 10 Lists:
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Financial pressures continue to take their toll on rural hospitals. Many of these small facilities are working to develop and implement strategies to stay viable, however their situations are challenging, to say the least.

Here’s a roundup of recent activities occurring in several states, but these developments are representative of what is occurring in many communities across the country.

In Georgia, a “Rural Hospital Stabilization Committee” was created by Governor Nathan Deal in March to facilitate communications between hospitals and the state. The committee met earlier this week to evaluate how “free-standing emergency room models” could work in rural hospitals.

In Alabama, six rural facilities have closed in the previous 18 months, but 22 are experiencing serious financial pressures. In Tennessee, at least 28 hospitals are facing significant budget cuts or outright closures, such as Haywood Park Community Hospital, which stopped providing inpatient services July 31.

In Arkansas, Crittenden Regional Hospital in West Memphis announced it is closing September 7, and the East Texas Medical Center Regional Healthcare System recently announced it is closing its facility in Gilmer at the end of this year.

In South Carolina, where average occupancy rates are at 60 percent, some rural facilities are reporting rates under 10 percent. One S.C. facility with 59 beds, Wallace Thomson Hospital in Union County, operated for several years at less than 25 percent capacity. After adding over $20 million in debt to its balance sheet, it recently filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection.

The “Post and Courier” newspaper in South Carolina recently reported that the state legislature has approved some funding to help hospitals “transition from business models based on filling beds to other models less reliant on inpatient services.” Other financial assistance is available through CMS, which recently extended its program to increase payments to hospitals with low Medicare inpatient volumes.

For more information on the state of rural hospitals, visit: http://www.fiercehealthfinance.com/story/rural-hospitals-struggle-keep-doors-open/2014-08-26
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Becker’s Hospital Review recently asked 14 healthcare CEO’s to describe the most important aspect of their job. Some of their responses may surprise you.

Annette Cantino, CEO of a commercial insurer in New Jersey, replied, “Early on, it was clear to me that if I was going to build a successful business, it was going to be about building relationships. I figured out that relationships were built in business on the golf course, and that’s when golf started becoming such an important part of my culture, even though I had never golfed before.”

Here are excerpts from some of the other responses:

● Place top performers in the right positions to manage day-to-day operations.

● Develop strong leadership and culture in their organization.

● Create a future destination for your organization.

● Foster and support our team's culture.

● Lead by example.

● Listen.

● Nurture an innovative environment.

● Emotionally engage each and every member of the team.

● Assemble an outstanding team and then get out of their way.

To view the article, visit Becker’s Hospital Review at: http://www.beckershospitalreview.com/leadership-management/the-most-important-thing-a-ceo-does.html
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Last week the American Hospital Association published an article about smart strategies to reduce costs. The article also includes a link to a 16-page report from Booz/PwC titled, “Health System Fitness: A Proven Approach to Transformational Cost Reduction.”

Five cost-cutting strategies discussed in the article are:

1. Team Up with Physicians – 80% of doctors say it’s possible to reduce costs without compromising clinical quality, although less than 20% of MDs say they have enough insight into their own costs per case.

2. Improve Efficiency of Clinical Utilization – Inefficient utilization involves inappropriate care or care that’s a mismatch for different types of medical staff; inefficient workflows and scheduling; the use of inconsistent treatment protocols; unnecessary variation in vendors and the supplies they provide; and unnecessary use of high-cost drugs.

3. Reduce Overhead – Consider centralizing activities involving human resources, marketing, finance and purchasing; consider outsourcing functions for HR, IT, finance, food services, labs and pharmacies; and investigate how automation can be used to streamline processes.

4. Organize Resources to Create Competitive Differentiators – Analyze the populations you want to serve and structure your services accordingly; consider offering services that complement (instead of compete with) other local facilities.

5. Implement Fundamental Changes – Consider collaborating with other facilities in the area; in a multi-facility network, develop a unified strategy that eliminates overlap.

Lastly, the authors advise executives not to overlook other opportunities to reduce costs, including in supply chain management, portfolio rationalization, new payment models and revised incentive structures.

The AHA article is available at: http://www.hhnmag.com/display/HHN-news-article.dhtml?dcrPath=/templatedata/HF_Common/NewsArticle/data/HHN/Daily/2014/Aug/080714-kaul-clinicalutilization
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Last week the American Hospital Association released a report (link below) on the variety of approaches being taken by hospitals and health plans regarding price transparency. The report also includes a high-level analysis of related government initiatives at the state and federal levels.

Price transparency across the nation is a patchwork of activity. Currently, 35 states are requiring hospitals to release data on some of their charges. Seven states are saying the release of this data is only voluntary. It’s a fluid situation, so having a strategy in place to address these requirements is must for hospital executives involved in these areas.

At the federal level, CMS has released hospital-specific average charges and Medicare reimbursement rates (link below) for 100 of the most common inpatient procedures and 30 of the most common outpatient procedures since June 2013. The data shows the amounts that providers are billing for services, procedures and medical items.

At the local level, hospitals are implementing a variety of efforts aimed at achieving price transparency, but the tasks are complicated by contractual obligations that restrict hospitals from releasing rates negotiated with payers. As a result, these activities require expertly managed collaboration among all of the various stakeholder groups.

To learn more, visit the links below to access the AHA report and CMS charge data.

AHA Report: “Price Transparency Efforts Accelerate”

Charge Data Released by CMS:
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Hospitals are increasingly seeking out business relationships (alliances, partnerships) as a means to gain competitive advantages in the marketplace. It’s a trend that’s been growing, in part, because the Federal Trade Commission is beginning to take a closer look at how mergers and acquisitions are affecting competition and patient access to care. However, there are a variety of variables involved, including goals such as expanding clinical expertise and increasing quality.

For example, Tenet has formed an alliance with Yale New Haven to develop clinical networks; Tenet gets access to Yale’s clinical expertise and Yale gets access to Tenet’s large cash reserves. Also, a new “quality alliance” was announced last week by Kaiser Permanente and Johns Hopkins; Kaiser gets access to Johns Hopkins’ research capabilities and Johns Hopkins can tap into Kaiser’s vast database of population health statistics.

Other activities include joint ventures such as the recent agreement between Tenet and Dignity Health to take over operations of southern Arizona’s largest hospital system, Carondelet Health Network.

To learn more, see the article: “Hospital Mergers Are Out. ‘Strategic Alliances’ Are In. Is Obamacare Responsible?” published by California Healthline at http://www.californiahealthline.org/road-to-reform/2014/hospital-mergers-are-out-strategic-alliances-are-in-is-obamacare-responsible
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An article published last week by Becker’s Hospital Review discussed ten concerns and trends that can be viewed as opportunities and/or threats depending on the hospital’s size, market and other factors. The article is linked below; here’s a high-level summary:

1. Growth of High-Deductible Plans – Patients are looking for lower-cost healthcare options, including urgent care centers and other clinics.

2. Growth of Accountable Care Organizations – An analysis conducted during May identified 626 ACOs covering 20.5 million lives in the country; expect more ACOs led by hospitals and physicians for Medicare, Medicaid and commercial health plans.

3. Intensity of Rivalries – Competition for patients, doctors and payer contracts is intensifying, however, the intensity varies across geographic areas; rivalries are developing not only locally, but also nationally and sometimes even internationally.

4. Reduced Inpatient Procedures – The average inpatient procedure generates revenue that is 600% to 1,000% higher than outpatient procedures; declining numbers of inpatient procedures appear to be occurring across all service lines offered by hospitals.

5. Layoffs – Approximately 100 hospital layoffs have been noted so far this year by Becker’s Hospital Review.

6. Narrow Networks – To attract consumers by offering low premiums, some insurers are selling narrow-network policies through the ACA health insurance exchanges; hospitals in these narrow networks are at risk for decreased revenue due to lower payment rates, which is typically not the case in broader contracts; however, hospitals that avoid these narrow-network contracts are vulnerable to losing market share.

7. Shift to Population Health/Managed Care – Providers are increasingly embracing pay-for-performance models; a study published last month by McKesson found that 81% of hospitals and 90% of payers have signed on to or are currently offering complex reimbursement models that combine fee-for-service and other models.

8. Huge Growth in Health IT Spending – A survey of hospital executives completed this year by the research firm Premier found that almost half of the executives said their largest capital investment this year will be for health information technology.

9. Competition for Physicians – The nation’s aging population will contribute to a shortage of physicians in the US; one study shows a shortage of 130,600 physicians by 2025, and another study shows the need for specialists to care for the elderly will double between 2013 and 2025.

10. Staying Independent – Standalone hospitals with revenue under $300 million will face greater difficulties because of: a) their lack of clout with payers, b) the need to invest large sums in health information technology, and c) the shift to pay-for-performance.

For more details, see Becker’s Hospital Review at: http://www.beckershospitalreview.com/leadership-management/10-concerns-and-trends-facing-hospitals-right-now.html
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In a report published this month, McKinsey & Company provides key insights based on interviews conducted with thousands of patients on their perception of digital healthcare services. The interviewees formed a varied cross-section of different age groups and incomes, as well as varying levels of experience with the technology services that are increasingly an integral part of healthcare delivery.

Results of the survey (available at the link below) revealed some surprises in terms of how patients view the technology. The report also provides information about how hospitals and other healthcare providers can approach the implementation of digital services for patients. Key findings include:

(1) Over 75% of all patients would like to use digital healthcare services in the future if those services meet their needs.

(2) Patients in all age groups (not just young patients) expect to increase their use of digital services.

(3) The adoption of digital services by patients is primarily driven by patient awareness of the services and the quality of how the services are implemented.

(4) The demand for mobile healthcare apps is strongest among young people, especially apps geared toward younger demographics, for example, apps focused on prenatal health or “healthy lifestyle” choices.

(5) When introducing digital healthcare services, it’s important to understand: a) what patients really want, b) the best way to provide the digital services, and c) the value of starting small.

(6) When planning for digital services, segment your initiatives according to criteria such as: a) the amount of investment required, b) the estimated demand by patients, and c) the value created by the services.

The report makes a conclusion that the time is now ripe to take advantage of digital services in terms of capturing the attention of patients and building long-term value—however, the keys are to understand what patients really want and avoid the pitfalls of five prevalent myths, which are listed in the report.

To learn more, visit: http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/health_systems_and_services/healthcares_digital_future
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According to an investment analysis published July 6 by The Motley Fool (link below), urgent care clinics are a rapidly growing profit center for hospitals. Not only are the clinics profitable, but they’re also a key source of future referrals to hospitals. Additionally, the analysis notes, “10,000 baby boomers are turning 65 every day and they’re going to need more care.”

In the past three years alone, HCA has spent more than $5.5 billion to open 200 new urgent care centers (stand-alone ERs, provider clinics and surgery centers). In an example of how HCA is implementing its strategy in the Nashville area, they’re operating 11 urgent care centers to complement their 10 hospitals and 40 provider locations. Additionally HCA is planning to spend over $2.0 billion this year on new growth projects, which include urgent care centers.

Other examples of hospitals getting into the business of stand-alone clinics include Dignity Health System, the fifth largest hospital operator in the nation. In 2012, Dignity acquired a chain of 172 clinics under the brand name “HealthWorks” and they now operate more than 200 clinics.

In May, Tenet Healthcare launched a branded chain of urgent care centers named “MedPost,” which currently includes 23 clinics in eight states; Tenet plans to double their number of clinics before the end of this year.

The report also notes that hospitals are under pressure from insurers to get into the business of stand-alone urgent care. Humana acquired 300 Concentra urgent care centers in 2010 and, as a result, the insurer can now offer its members a less expensive option than going to a hospital.

Humana’s entrance into the urgent care market also further blurs the line between payers and providers. From Humana’s point of view, their foray into clinics “transforms care from an expense that it has to pay into a profitable business.”

To learn more, see the article, “How Urgency Will Save Hospitals” at: http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2014/07/06/how-urgency-will-save-hospitals.aspx
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A 12-page “Trendwatch” report published in June by the American Hospital Association (AHA) provides excellent guidance on how hospitals can adjust their operations to remain competitive in light of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The report (available at the link below) discusses the impact of the ACA on multiple variables:

1) Increasing coinsurance and deductibles will make consumers more price sensitive at the point of care

2) Consumers will demand cost information to guide decision-making

3) Providers will carry the burden of patient education at the point of care

4) Greater exposure to costs may lead to delayed or avoided care

5) Higher patient cost-sharing can increase bad debt

6) Hospitals may lose volume to lower-cost providers

7) More options leave consumers to balance multiple plan features in decision-making

The bottom-line takeaway from the report is that hospitals will have to implement new strategies to succeed in today’s rapidly evolving marketplace, where consumers are more actively engaged in the purchase of coverage and care-delivery services.

At the end of the report, the AHA provides five strategic questions for hospital executives, including options for how to answer/address those questions. This is a valuable report for all hospital executives and will help you provide proactive “thought leadership” throughout your organization.

The report is available for download at: http://www.aha.org/research/reports/tw/14june-tw-consumerchc.pdf
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This week Becker’s Hospital Review published an article about actions that hospital CEOs can take today to help ensure their future success:

1. Get involved – this could include joining a new local or national healthcare association, which will provide you with more exposure and additional networking opportunities.

2. Embrace change – keep an open mind, even when potential opportunities seem out of the ordinary.

3. Be visible – engage employees on a personal level; and for larger organizations, consider social media as a way to remain “visible” even when you’re not physically present.

4. Delegate – learn to trust your people; you need a team effort to be successful.

5. Have free time – be sure to schedule free time if needed, especially if you are in “continuous work mode.”

6. Read – never stop learning; use reading as a way to stay in touch with ongoing developments in the healthcare industry.

7. Make tough financial decisions – don’t be afraid to “step on political landmines” in order to control costs.

You can read the entire article at Becker’s Hospital Review by visiting: http://www.beckershospitalreview.com/leadership-management/7-things-ceos-can-do-today-to-advance-their-careers.html
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This week I’d like to bring to your attention another key resource for hospital executives. It’s a book that’s part of the ACHE Management Series, titled, “Leading a Hospital Turnaround: A Practical Guide.” Whether or not you may be currently involved in a turnaround situation, this book is an excellent resource that will also help you recognize the early warning signs of impending financial problems.

The author, Anthony K. Jones, has served as CEO of two health systems and COO of four large medical centers. He also has extensive experience improving the performance of hospitals in financial difficulties. To learn more about what this book has to offer, visit the ACHE website via the link below.

Also on the subject of turnarounds, Becker’s Hospital Review published a brief article this week about the traits of a successful “Hospital Turnaround CEO.” In the article, Raji Kumar, CEO of Dallas Medical Center, shared her thoughts on five key traits that helped her transform the hospital. When she accepted the CEO position in 2010, the medical center was losing approximately $2 million per month. Last year they reported a $5 million profit.

During the turnaround, Dallas Medical Center added service lines, including cardiovascular, spine, and gastroenterology, and they recruited nearly 100 physicians to join their staff. Here’s a brief summary of Ms. Kumar’s thoughts about leading a successful turnaround:

Have a Clear Vision – Establish a plan/roadmap for attaining the vision and then follow through to implement the plan.

Communicate Effectively – Use the plan/roadmap to engage employees, communicate the big picture, and inspire them to buy into the strategy.

Make Decisions – Avoid “analysis paralysis” and take prudent risks based on available information.

Recruit and Develop the Right Staff – Assess the need for changes in management when departments prove to be problematic.

Manage Resources Efficiently – Find ways to empower employees and inspire them to take ownership of problems.

For more information, visit these websites:

ACHE: https://www.ache.org/publications/Product.aspx?pc=2240

Becker’s Hospital Review:
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Following up on last week’s blog on key resources for hospital executives, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) offers valuable information on transformation and other improvement initiatives. Their website (link below) provides insight into topics that should be top-of-mind in today’s environment.

The Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS) surveys are a case in point. The results of CAHPS surveys, which ask patients to report on and evaluate their experiences with providers, are in the public domain. The data is not only accessible to healthcare consumers but is also used by public and private purchasers of healthcare, regulators, quality monitors and community groups. Organizations and consumers will increasingly use the survey results to inform their decisions about healthcare services.

Other topics addressed include AHRQ Quality Indicators (QIs), which are metrics of hospital quality and safety derived from readily available hospital inpatient administrative data. Hospitals across the country use the QIs to track their performance over time as well as identify potential problems related to quality and safety.

Hospital construction is another key topic. Approximately $200 billion will be invested over the next ten years to build new hospitals. As noted by the agency, “the United States is embarking upon one of the largest hospital building booms in the nation's history… this new construction is being undertaken to replace aging hospitals, incorporate new technologies and medical practices, and respond to external market factors, including America's growing and aging population.”

To learn more, visit: http://www.ahrq.gov/index.html
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