There seems to be a lot of changes coming down the health care pipeline. From financial plans to reduce costs to more government accountability, hospitals are organizing the members of their think tanks to determine the path to success. For those getting career nurse training, it’s important to gauge what the future may look like.
On FierceHealth.com, editor Karen M. Cheung reports that, “Hospitals and health systems are adapting to the changing healthcare climate in ‘curves’ or waves of strategic priorities, with one foot on the dock and the other on the boat, according to a recently released report from the American Hospital Association Committee on Performance Improvement. The report, which includes responses from hospital and health system leaders, as well as AHA groups, identifies strategies hospitals should prioritize as major initiatives in the coming decade.”
The first strategy explains that there needs to be an alignment between “hospitals, physicians, and other providers across the care continuum. Described as a shifting paradigm from ‘competition to interdependency,’ according to the report, aligning providers across the care continuum is essential to true partnerships and care coordination. For example, during a Medicare demonstration project, Wenatchee (Wash.) Valley Medical Center held preliminary meetings with all providers and acted on their suggestions, provided shared savings incentives to group physicians, and shared data, including testimonials from patients,” explains Cheung.
The next step would be to use “evidence-based practices to improve quality and patient safety. Quality is directly tied to reimbursement, especially as hospitals with high readmission rates will be penalized starting in 2013” comments Cheung. Of course hospitals are going to be more cautious with patient care if they are worried they won’t be reimbursed for their costs. Add penalties to that and money sometimes speaks louder than words.
The third solution is to improve efficiency through productivity and financial management. Chueng uses this example : “North Mississippi Medical Center aimed to improve patient satisfaction in the emergency department, particularly around wait times. To cut down on wait times, the hospital implemented bedside triage, allowed for X-ray viewing abilities in each patient room, and installed a computerized tracking system to increase patient flow.”
Finally, many hospitals are integrating information systems. As a patient, this is awesome! I would love for all of my medical history, drug allergies and contact information to be in one system so I won’t have to fill out a plethora of identical forms.
It looks like the future of health care continues to be exciting and more polished. This the perfect time to be in a nursing school in the San Francisco Bay Area!
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