Converting Vision into Victory: Leading the Health Care Transformation

Thoughtware Article Published: Mar 26, 2019
Performance Improvement

You have a vision for your organization and your legacy as a leader, but leading the transformation to sustainable excellence can be a monumental challenge. Health care operations are interrelated like the vascular system, and an issue in one portion of the system can quickly disrupt all the connected areas.

In the past few years, providers have faced significant mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity along with the challenges of addressing technology changes, preparing for new payment models and battling shrinking margins. In addition to these pressures, consumerism continues to change the competitive landscape, making building an intentional patient experience and addressing the role of price transparency more important than ever.

There’s no simple five-part plan you can implement, but there is an answer, and it’s people. Your solution is innovative, entrepreneurial people working together for a common vision.

Here’s what we’ve learned from working with providers from coast to coast.

Performance Improvement Starts with People & Culture

When you implement performance improvement, the improvements should be sustainable—so start your project by looking at the post-implementation goals. Are you treating problems, or are you implementing curing processes?

When you’re analyzing your people and skill sets to identify who should be at the table, look beyond the organizational chart. Look for professionals who have an entrepreneurial approach that’s contagious. Seek out those who have cross-departmental experience and can build bridges between current silos.

Are you interviewing consultants to help with the project? Ask how their deliverable is designed to leave you with sustainable changes. Too often, systems are left with a report, hefty contingency fee and temporary results. Look for professionals leaving raving fans in their wake.

Create a Cash Infusion Before Delving into Your Transformation

Your system and people have enough stress and pressure; unlocking trapped revenue can create a welcome cash infusion—and sometimes even pay for your project. Many systems underestimate the amount of revenue they’re leaking and how much of that is recoverable. Think you’re not sitting on a transformation fund? Unless in a crisis turnaround situation, leaders often don’t realize the potential value in their transformation fund. Our Health Care Performance Advisory Services practice recently worked with a prominent system on a revenue enhancement project and helped it receive a $15.5 million cash boost.

Our revenue cycle professionals use a mix of experience and data analytics to identify opportunities to help accelerate cash, reduce denials and improve performance.

From there, systems can craft a sustainable implementation plan that redesigns revenue processes and leaves your organization with streamlined, efficient systems.  

Create Cost Savings by Streamlining Spending in Supply Chain & Labor Management

Marie Kondo’s videos have swept the nation by storm, helping many people unclutter their homes by asking, “Does this item spark joy?” When you’re looking for cost savings, you’re asking, “Does this item or process create value?” In his article “Small Actions Hospital Leaders Can Take to Improve Operational Efficiency,” BKD Director Kevin Rash details how small changes like surgical block scheduling and updating surgical preference or procedural cards can simultaneously improve efficiency and reduce spend and care variation.

The pace of change in health care probably isn’t going to slow down and let you catch your breath, but reversing the effects by improving your margins can give you room to breathe.

Engage & Incentivize Physicians to Drive System Success

According to the AMGA™ 2017 Medical Group Operations and Finance Survey, physician losses increased 7.5 percent between 2016 and 2017. With loss per physician averaging $140,856 annually, improving physician relationships and performance is paramount to achieving margin stability.

In addition to the investment, physicians are the core of care delivery, so engaging and incentivizing them is central to many initiatives. They’re the lynchpin of population health and powerful change drivers for ACOs. Unfortunately, getting physicians and management working out of the same playbook can be challenging. In the Physician Services Simplified Guide, our physician services leaders explore organizations that are identifying and improving physician profitability, incentivizing quality outcomes and combating physician burnout.

Leverage System Synergy for Strategic Growth

With the M&A transaction flurry in previous years, many systems haven’t achieved true system synergy and could benefit from taking a hard look at their service-line offerings, geographical overlap, provider and payor contracting arrangements and market position. Consider these questions for your organization:

  • Is there an unnecessary duplication of services across sites of care?
  • Can restructuring regulatory strategies unlock opportunities such as improving 340B performance?
  • Could renegotiating supply contracts result in greater savings?

While there’s more to system growth than cost, taking a holistic view of the system can help leaders weigh their existing operations and offerings and plan their market position wisely.

Connect with Professionals Who Can Help You Drive Change

There’s no simple five-step method to converting a vision into a victory. Surrounding yourself with sound advice always makes for a great first step. When your team begins asking strategic questions like “How much are we losing on physicians, and is it preventable?” and “Where should we start to advance our performance improvement goals?” connect with professionals who can give you guidance. Visit our Performance Improvement page for insightful content and resources, and when you’re ready to explore what’s next for your organization, submit a Contact Us form and we’ll schedule a time to connect.

For more information, contact Eddie or your trusted BKD advisor.

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