South Florida Hospital News
Saturday February 24, 2018
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January 2006 - Volume 2 - Issue 7

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A Look Ahead for 2006

Today, healthcare is a dynamic industry moreso than ever. So while change is constant, flexibility and adaptability to changes are keys to remaining successful and profitable, especially with increasing costs for new technology. But, the outlook ahead is overwhelmingly positive. In fact, the American Hospital Association reported that hospital profits hit an all-time high in 2004. Inpatient admissions grew nearly 1% and Emergency Room visits increased 1.4%, while length of stay and overall spending growth decreased.

We at Corazon believe this era of profitability can continue if organizations give diligent attention to strategic planning and also benchmark for quality assurance, clinical efficiency, and cost-savings opportunities. As we look ahead through 2006, these areas will likely attract the attention of industry leaders:

  • Pay-for-Performance Initiatives
  • Healthcare Construction for Facility Expansions and Upgrades
  • Opportunities for Hospital-Physician Partnering
  • Angioplasty in the Community
Many initiatives that have already been implemented could become an even greater factor in the ‘business of healthcare.’ For instance, Pay for Performance may have a stronger role in assuring standards of quality across hospital specialties in terms of clinical outcomes and operational performance. Reimbursement will likely be determined based on quality, and this ‘P4P’ initiative, whether hospital-to-provider, physician-to-provider, or hospital-to-physician, could greatly impact how procedures are billed and for how much they are paid.

Another area of great activity over the past several years has been the construction boom for hospitals across the country. This trend is likely to continue, as the effect of the ‘Baby Boomer’ generation on the volumes for cardiovascular and other specialties has not yet been fully realized. Beyond capacity needs, many facilities are outdated, and will require expansions and/or upgrades of technology or equipment to remain competitive in their marketplaces. An aging population and other demographic factors will continue to create a steady stream of patients requiring advanced healthcare services.

Physician-hospital partnering will continue to be evaluated and implemented in healthcare. Physicians have been looking for ways to supplement their income, while hospitals continually look for opportunities to decrease costs. Cost savings initiatives, management service agreements, and other arrangements can be a win-win when approached strategically and with the best interests of the patients in mind. And, in terms of Corazon’s area of specialty, cardiovascular services, the issue of angioplasty with off-site open heart surgery will no doubt remain in the headlines throughout 2006. In states with recently-changed or pending regulations, such as Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Georgia, decisions about this controversial and often-debated topic will continue. These and other states and their outcomes from demonstration projects will certainly play a role in deciding this issue nationwide.

In summary, there are, as always, great changes on the horizon for healthcare, and for cardiovascular services in particular. Hospitals that diligently explore and evaluate their options will remain ahead of the curve in their markets, best positioned for 2006 and beyond.

Karen Hartman, President of Corazon Consulting, Inc, a national leader in specialized consulting services for cardiovascular program development from strategic business planning through clinical implementation, can be reached via e-mail at khartman@corazon-consulting.com. For more information about Corazon Consulting, Inc. call (412) 364-8200 or visit www.corazon-consulting.com.
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