This year’s 6th Annual Becker’s Hospital Review Meeting, which gathered executives from more than 153 health systems, was an incredible opportunity for our North Highland team and clients to learn from one another in the face of a rapidly evolving healthcare landscape. As usual, the conference sessions and networking opportunities were packed with insights, well-deserved recognition of industry leaders, meaningful dialogue, and perhaps most striking, optimism.
I had an opportunity to speak this year among a panel of experts on Physician Alignment: Key Tactics and Ideas to Improve Operational and Financial Performance. My fellow panelists included executives from very different health systems – Bernard Wheatley, DBA, FACHE, Chief Executive Officer at Schneider Regional Medical Center, William Scott Hurst, MBA, FACHS, Director of Network Development-Professional Service at Children’s Health, and Lucy Hammerberg, MD, Chief Quality Officer at Northwest Community Hospital. We focused not just on how one can best partner with physicians in business strategy initiatives to cut costs, but more importantly, to enable the best patient care.
In my dialogue with the panelists, and other healthcare professionals throughout the week, what struck me most was the shift in attitude from not simply surviving amidst ever-changing economic, social, and technological healthcare advances, but leveraging our tools and thriving.
Becker’s was a well-timed reminder of the key performance drivers we should all be keeping top of mind. Since returning from the conference, I’ve given a lot of thought to this notion of not just surviving but thriving, and how we can best prepare our clients to do so. Whether you’re a payer, provider, employer, or patient, I want to share a few takeaways from Becker’s across four areas of industry transformation – digital, clinical, financial, and organizational.
- DIGITAL – Many health system executives spoke to the rapid growth of electronic data, and how enterprises and clinicians are able to monitor, display, analyze and share mass volumes of information – expediting data-driven decisions. This clinical perspective is critical to ensure that data analysis is shared from the front office to the front lines for direct application to new treatment best practices and patient care.
- CLINICAL – We know that new clinical care models drive care delivery outside hospital walls, allowing patients to move between healthcare teammates and partners, recrafting a new doctor-patient relationship and leading to better compliance to care plans. The general sentiment was one of enthusiasm to redesign systems around the demands of patients. This allows for more flexibility around how, when and where healthcare consumers are served, whether it be through non-traditional office hours, telemedicine or other models.
- FINANCIAL – In the Friday morning keynote panel, four large health system CEOs addressed key financial and strategic issues. As much as some health systems might resist, new models include partnerships with formerly fierce competitors and extensions into expected areas, such as population health, to drive outcomes. All four panelists noted heavier reliance on vendors as true partners to drive big change in revenue, cost reduction, and efficiency in areas such as specialty pharmacy, revenue management, physician engagement, and practice management. This reinforces a theme I’ve spoken with many clients about recently – the rapid growth of the dyad model that links business and clinical together to enhance financial, operational and clinical performance.
- ORGANIZATIONAL – Everywhere we turned, panels were emphasizing the incredible importance of investing the time and energy to “disrupt” your business model and processes, and that if they don’t someone else will. This certainly speaks to a theme that we as North Highlanders emphasize with our clients across industries (not to mention in our advertising campaign). Of particular focus was the importance of understanding millennials as both employees and patients/customers. This generation has high expectations and organizations need to listen, respond, and foresee how millennials want to engage with a provider–or employer–of choice.
And lest we forget the patient who is at the center of it all…highly respected Scripps CEO Chris Van Gorder, in a powerful, inspiring closing keynote, shared one tip that is instructive to us all. He insists on starting every key leadership meeting with a short presentation from a patient and his/her doctor to help remind his teams why we do what we do in healthcare.
So how do these learnings take shape in bringing value to our clients? Those healthcare executives whose optimism around ever-changing healthcare landscape drives the investment in time, energy, resources, and strategy behind all four of these transformations will be most successful. It will be thrilling to see the pace with which we can address these transformations as we reconvene at the 7th Annual Becker’s Hospital Review Meeting next spring. Will you simply survive, or thrive?
Sharon Ben-Dov co-authored this post. She is a Senior Manager at Sparks Grove, a division of North Highland that cultivates growth for clients and new value for their customers by designing and building meaningful human experiences rooted in foresight and insight. Sharon specializes in working with healthcare clients to develop strategic communications solutions for patients, physicians and other key stakeholders.