The pressures mounting on most institutions as the years trudge by are mounting. They are mired in mountains of regulations, the need to implement millions of dollars of IT “improvements,” streamline their most productive service lines, strip down their front-line staff to dangerous levels … and all this while their reimbursements are being crushed.
Consider that a profitable hospital currently operates on a 1% margin.
Consider that the hospital is considered the most costly portion of the overall healthcare debt burden.
Consider that hospitals are considered to be one of the most dangerous places to be based on the rate of medical errors.
Consider that customer care initiatives either do not exist in most institutions or fail miserably in hospitals who are attempting to implement them.
Consider that the government will be publishing reams of performance and quality based information about hospitals and providers over the next decade. Layer onto that the ability we have or will possess to share that information amongst ourselves via the social platforms that currently exist, or will exist as this data is revealed.
Will you go to an ER, wait 3-4 hours, read the quality reviews only to find out that the ER you are sitting in fails miserably compared to a hospital not too far away— and that you stand a greater chance of dying from that admission than you do driving to the hospital or flying around the world?
There are not many forward thinking institutions out there. There are even fewer where the C-suite has “skin in the game” and feels emotionally attached to the institution where they earn their salary from. Do you believe these institutions will put forth the initiatives necessary to allow them to shine above their competitors when the facts come out? My guess is that many many institutions will fold over next decade as quality measures, poor customer service, high (published) medical error rates and a leadership council who simply doesn’t care becomes common knowledge through our digitally enabled and hyper-connected society.
Will this save money? No, that’s another post.
Will this save lives? Hopefully.
Will this disrupt the lives of many physicians, nurses and employees who signed contracts thinking they were safe from the changes that value based initiatives and the cost cutting features of the new health plan? Most certainly.
Hospitals and physicians better wake up. Start collaborating, start planning, put the proper people in place and properly position themselves if they want to have a chance at surviving and remaining relevant throughout the next decade — and beyond.
Howard Luks is an orthopedic surgeon who blogs at his self-titled site, Howard J. Luks, MD.
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