Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Three Principles For Improving the Value of Your Hospital

A recent article in Healthcare Executive discussed how top performing systems are addressing the new "Quality-Cost Imperative". I prefer to call it becoming a high value provider. As I read about what they are doing successfully, three themes stood out to me. These are also the themes that we at Compirion see at client hospitals.

1) Narrow the set of goals you address and stay focused on them. Two mistakes we see hospitals make are; first, trying to fix everything at once and second, shining a spotlight on a problem for a brief period and then forgetting about it. If you try to accomplish too much at once you end up accomplishing nothing. It is important to have a comprehensive list of the issues to address, but rather than deal with all of them, you need to prioritize. Let the staff focus in just a couple of areas. But just as important you need to stay focused for an extended period. Even with our rapid cycle techniques and full time staff involvement, we find it takes at least six months of attention to change culture and achieve sustainable improvement.

2) Link financial health to clinical outcomes. There are two myths in healthcare that need to be eradicated. First is that improving quality always costs money and doesn't save it. Second is that you can run a financially successful hospital without addressing quality. Many quality initiatives can save money in the short run. They all provide financial return in the long run. Look at the list of Top 100 Hospitals and see how many have poor or even mediocre quality measures; none.

3) Focus on best practices rather than worry about the causes of variability. After many hospitals identify areas that are not performing consistently, they get bogged down and frustrated trying to figure out all of the causes of this inconsistency. Take this time and effort and apply it to creating best practices in these areas and don't worry about why the old system didn't work.

To get more specifics on applying these principles at your hospital I invite you attend my free webinar on "Preparing Your Hospital for the Impact of Healthcare Reform". You can find the schedule of presentations and register at our website:

More on this later.

Mark Brodeur

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