Healthcare can be broadly defined as providing medical products, equipment and services to protect, extend, or increase the quality of patients’ lives. Increasingly, the industry encompasses a network of interrelated providers with different areas of expertise, all coordinated to varying degrees to keep us healthy. The Global Industry Classification Standard (GICS) breaks the space into two broad subgroups:
- Health Care Equipment and Services
- Pharmaceuticals, Biotechnology and Life Sciences
Current Issues and Concerns
In order to meet growing demands for health service with improved access, cost controls, and increased productivity, it will be necessary to reorder the current system of providing these services. It should be remembered that:
- Health must remain high on the scale of social, political, and economic priorities.
- New money alone will not guarantee either capacity or effectiveness of the current health system.
- Health care is too often delivered at the time and place and in a way convenient to the provider rather than the consumer.
- Man power production for the health industry must adapt new modes of training and licensure in order to provide more flexible use of valuable human resources.
- Resource allocation should be the central responsibility of area wide and state comprehensive health planning agencies.
- The consumer must play a stronger role in decision making and be provided a greater range of choices among alternative forms of health services. This decision-making power together with enough information to make the purchase of health care a meaningful decision may lead to some new questions pertaining to health care.
Healthcare Operational Challenges
Operational efficiency in any organization is critical to success. Healthcare organizations face an increased challenge to properly utilize resources, improve care and lower costs. By reducing bottlenecks and implementing solutions that will drive effective solutions to common problems, any business can thrive.
As any healthcare leader can attest, especially hospital leadership, this is often easier said than done. Effective operations management is not a “one time” task; it requires proper decision making. Capturing, assessing and optimizing data is the first step down the pathway of success. If you are tasked with improving care, improving clinical operations and maximizing financial outcomes, how do you utilize the data at hand to do so?
Rising overheads in healthcare are becoming key challenges in the industry as they are negatively impacting all those who are part of the eco-system; be it the provider or the patient. Hence, certain aspects of patient care are witnessing increasing emphasis –
- Type of treatment and rationale
- Healthcare infrastructure/ resources provided
- Cost of the treatment (can include consulting, prescriptions, medication, hospital care)
- Time of recovery
- Post-treatment follow-up/ medical care
- Insurance coverage; out-of-pocket expenses
- Claim settlement time and procedure
Hospitals, manufacturers, doctors, insurance companies and patients—all are looking forward to efficient means to better these. Each entity faces different kind of challenges. And although there have been significant advancements in allied research, the overheads/bottlenecks do not seem to reduce. On the contrary, they are posing stiffer management difficulties than earlier.
Healthcare Industry Challenges
Containing Rising Costs
Prescription drug prices, an aging population which requires more care, and the increasing cost of medical technology have contributed to the rising cost of managed care in recent years. The new health care reform law is aimed at helping control costs. Proposals to manage costs include the adoption of electronic health records, more focus on quality and efficiency, emphasis on less expensive preventive care over more expensive services, and government regulation to keep insurance premiums and Medicare payments low.
The incidence of medical errors resulting in patient death is an issue of critical importance to the health care industry. A study by HealthGrades showed that between 2004 and 2006 medical errors caused more than 200,000 deaths and cost Medicare nearly $9 billion. In 2008, Medicare declared that it would not pay for treatment of eight preventable medical errors, including leaving surgical tools inside the patient and catheter-associated urinary tract infections. Hospitals are looking at ways to reduce patient deaths, including procedural checklists and safety training.
Questionable Results from High Costs>
The US spends 18 percent of its GDP on health care, more than any other nation, yet the health of Americans, on average, is no better than in many countries that spend less. A WHO ranking of life expectancy lists the US as 34th in the world; among developed nations, the US has one of the highest infant mortality rates, at about 6 per 1,000 live births. Adult and childhood obesity rates are among the highest in the world.
Partnering with doctors
Healthcare executives need to develop relationships with doctors, who obviously play a key role in the industry. Partnering with doctors often doesn’t happen effectively. If hospitals and other medical facilities are to change, better relationships are needed.
Way Forward & GeoViz Contribution
The healthcare industry is inherently complex and facing significant structural changes that require every provider to organize around a new set of standards – including value, accountability, quality, efficiency and transparency.
GeoViz provides healthcare solutions designed to help clients optimize their performance in the short term and prepare for inevitable strategic, operational and financial challenges of the future.
To improve clinical and operational effectiveness, GeoViz Inc. helps clients reduce clinical variation and improve length-of-stay process. Concurrently, we identify opportunities to enhance patient flow, improve clinical documentation and coding integrity, and maximize clinical capacity. We also evaluate clinical care management, quality, outcomes, structure and medical management.
GeoViz Inc. provides clients with the expertise to successfully address the many challenges of the marketplace and achieve peak performance. With in-depth knowledge of best practices, combined with real-world operations experience, our experts quickly evaluate options and develop sustainable solutions.
We provide clients with a complete array of powerful, proprietary management tools. Even more important, we train our clients’ staff so that the tools become a permanent part of hospital operations.