The other day, I began my list for the Top 10 issues in health care that I expect to see in 2011.
Today, I’ve added four more items to my list, as well as included links to the items discussed on yesterday’s blog. Again, join in the discussion if you wish to add, delete or create a more specific list of your own.
Top 10 List, Day 2:
4. Health Care Amenities. Hospitals and health care facilities are going to increase amenities and improve the service aspects of care. Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital is a great example of providing high-touch, healing surroundings with an emphasis on hiring employees who provide service anticipating patient and family needs.
Most of these amenities are not costly, but require a commitment to assure patient experience is every bit as good as the quality and safe of care provided.
In 2011, look for increasing debate about the cost of facility upgrades as finances become tighter. Fortunately, a smile and helpful demeanor do not cost much.
5. Recruitment, Retention and Engagement. Talented health care professionals will be increasingly in demand. Almost no clinical, professional, or administrative talent category is excluded, as we recognize the quest for institutional greatness requires great people who are emotionally committed to the practice or organization.
The search for talent in support areas also will be increasing as the overall job market improves and other industries compete for entry level employees.
Health care must recognize that these individuals often have as much to do with hospital success as the highly skilled surgeon.
Detroit-area parents who have seen their children move to other cities for financial and lifestyle issues understand the need to be very aggressive in recruiting and retaining talented health care workers. These employees are even more mobile than those in many other industries.
6. Declining Revenues. Payment for unit of service – real or historically relative – in almost all health care areas will not be increasing. The stark reality is that we may have seen the height of revenue in health care.
Insurance erosion plays a major role for many urban and rural hospitals, although no market segment of the industry is immune.
Preparation for a future of payments tied to performance and non-payments for events, such as 30-day readmissions, will cause many hospitals to rethink programs, the size of their facilities, and management of the continuum of care with other facilities and providers.
Most of this will give hospital CEOs gray hairs and erosive esophageal lining.
7. Reduction in Cost per Unit Service. Productivity improvements, process redesign, supply chain management and waste reduction all will be targets of hospital CEOs to make up for declining revenues.
All hospitals and health care organizations regularly address these issues, but the intensity of focus and results will be essential for success. This will occur when there will need to be necessary human and other capital investments to meet future demands.
Look for increasing focus on operational, supply, and inventory cost reductions, and targeted reduction of personnel in non-clinical areas.