because CHANGE HAPPENS.....

A Balancing Act

Achieving “Performance, Form, and Flow” is not easy.  Delivering health care that is cost-effective, high quality, with a satisfying experience for the patient takes thoughtful planning and design of Care Delivery, Health IT systems, and Physical Space.  Most importantly it requires knowledge of the interrelationships between these three domains, and a complex ‘balancing act’ to align them with the organization’s goals.

Here is the great challenge:  How to maintain a high level of patient satisfaction, with the looming imperative to reduce costs 20% to 25%.  CFO Dean Swindle (Catholic Health Initiatives) is quoted in an article on HealthLeaders Media this week as saying, this “will be the most difficult thing that any of us have done in this industry“.

The value emphasis on Patient Experience isn’t going away.  This was brought home to me at an ACHE chapter breakfast presentation yesterday.  A panel of three highly respected non-healthcare business leaders in the community, when asked what they would change if they were leaders of Healthcare organizations, came up with a list not of ‘how to fix healthcare’, but of more personal ‘Patient Experience’ issues:

  • A “Concierge” to coordinate my many care providers and records
  • The “Humanness” of care
  • Respect for the consumer
  • Access to knowledge about my individual health
  • Customer service

This is consistent with the HealthLeaders Media  article that reports on “Top priorities” for the next three years – they are all of the ones you’d expect – although it’s surprising to see patient experience still at the top (I would expect cost and process improvement to be #1); Their top 3 are:

  • Patient experience & satisfaction
  • Clinical Quality & Safety
  • Cost control / Process improvement

I think achieving balance is an exciting target for us all to aim at, because I believe we have the knowledge we need for healthcare organizations to succeed in the new imperative – if we think about designing Care Delivery, Health IT, and Space together.

Posted by Ron Smith, President/CEO, design at the intersection, LLC

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