Welcome back to our series, Positioning Your Company for the Future of Healthcare. If you missed the introduction, start here for a better understanding of the current healthcare landscape. In Part 1 of this series, we will discuss what you need to do to create a solid foundation for your organization to build from.
This sounds obvious, but creating a solid foundation is the most important component that healthcare organizations need when dealing with an environment of uncertainty. To clarify, optimizing operations isn’t only about decreasing costs. It’s about creating an organization that has the right people, processes, and technology in place to ensure that everything is functioning efficiently and effectively. If done properly, this will help an organization to:
The most effective way to approach creating a solid operational structure in healthcare is to start with a coordinated evaluation across your company. The evaluation should help reveal pain points across every program and location to identify the gaps and issues that exist today. A detailed process like this will allow organizations to take a step back from the day-to-day grind and will provide the leadership the opportunity to gain a thorough understanding of what is working and what is not. From there, a plan and detailed roadmap can be created to help get from today’s “less than efficient” reality to a better future state.
To conduct this assessment, it’s best to go straight to the source. Begin by interviewing staff across the organization to understand exactly what they are doing each day and how they do it. This includes clinical, finance/billing, support, administrative, and IT staff. The purpose of these discussions is to uncover inefficient processes, ineffective technology, and potential areas where revenue is falling through the cracks. It also helps uncover where behaviors aren’t aligned with organizational goals. Remember, every time you hear a “pain” from one of your staff, you are likely hearing something affecting your organization’s ability to perform well.
Once the evaluation is complete, the next step is prioritizing the issues and needs based on cost and impact, then creating a realistic roadmap to fix them. This may include making changes to your IT infrastructure, optimizing the use of your EHR, or fixing workflow issues. Based on what you find, it may be a long (think more than a year) process to clean up the issues, but it’s important to create an action plan to address your priorities properly. Otherwise, inefficiencies will persist, and your organization will remain in firefighting mode no matter what other initiatives you try to accomplish in the future.
Click here to read Part 2 of the series, which focuses on Proactively Managing the Health of your Clients.
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