Hospital Evolution: Collaboration in an Era of Change

August 19, 2012
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Change is everywhere.  No more evident is this than the presidential election soon to be upon us.  And with the selection of Vice Presidential running mate, Rep.

Change is everywhere.  No more evident is this than the presidential election soon to be upon us.  And with the selection of Vice Presidential running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan, healthcare (change) will be a hot topic for debate.  While the Democratic and Republican parties, as well as the voting public, attempt to come to terms with Medicare & Medicaid changes, this recent article puts the focus on a different topic.  Specifically, how will the American hospital evolve in this ever changing landscape?

After speaking with numerous industry experts, Molly Gramble sets forth the following hypotheses:

  • There will be fewer ‘heads in the bed’, with a move towards increased outpatient services and a key focus on prevention and wellness
  • Partnerships will abound as these institutions seek to deliver high quality care in a transparent environment that demands safety and efficiency
  • Utilizing innovation to find new niches will be the key to adding value and sustaining the hospital’s role in the healthcare ecosystem

And, in order to drive this adaption, Jeanette Clough, CEO of Mount Auburn Hospital, outlined the American Hospital Association’s (AHA) Performance Improvement Committee’s must-do strategies:

  • Physician alignment — getting in sync with doctors whose current incentives and view of the world may be very different from that of hospitals — is considered essential
  • Information systems that are intuitive, adaptable, and connect doctors to patients, colleagues and hospitals are viewed as fundamental to the hospital’s future
  • Quality and safety programs that grow in depth and strength to benefit the patient as well as the bottom line are a fundamental strategic priority
  • Improving efficiency through productivity and financial management will require greater creativity than ever before as reimbursement shifts from a fee-based to a value-based system.

While I sense that it is intuitive, one strategy that I do not see outlined is collaboration. Certainly a necessary ingredient to physician alignment, I am also speaking to collaboration with patients, caregivers, specialty, community/public health, post-acute, home health, nursing home, retail providers, payers…any and everybody in the continuum?  In the most rudimentary sense, are we not currently connected?  So perhaps, we need to, instead, focus on collaborative engagement in order to find innovative ways to deliver high quality, safe, efficient patient-centered care of the future – similar to Dr. Peter Margolis’, M.D., Ph.D., Co-Director, Cincinnati Children’s Center for Health Care Quality, strategy for the past twenty years.