Is this your playbook too?
Ascension, the largest Catholic health system in the US, has made definitive plans to completely restructure the way it operates. Rising costs and diminishing revenue have led Ascension to make moves to recoup some of its losses by giving their healthcare system an overhaul. Ascension will focus on outpatient care and telemedicine and transition from a hospital adapted system. Twenty percent of Ascension's healthcare operating costs come from Michigan health care operations. Michigan health care operations account for four of Ascension's major markets and half of its $22.6 billion revenue. Declining government reimbursements and commercial customers, as well as complicated regulatory requirements, and mounting drug costs are some of the significant reasons why Ascension has decided to move from inpatient to outpatient services. Ascension has also decided to move from a fee-for-service system to value-based care.
The Projected Impact of Ascension's Healthcare Changes
The new system is designed to embrace the way patients are currently getting the healthcare they need. The changes that Ascension is putting in place have accounted for a $400 million reduction in administrative costs. This reduction in administrative costs has come about as a result of changes in Ascensions organizational structure as well as the leadership structure.
The Impact of Changes in Operations and Costs
Ascension expects to save $57 million a year by following benchmark practices and management procedures. This new system helps the company align its pay practices, which is possible once inconsistencies in practices are eliminated and stabilized. This is made possible by adopting new ways of doing things and consistently following these new practices.
A Reduction in Staff
Ascension has 14 hospitals in Michigan. Ascensions's new restructuring plan has led to the reduction of 500 employees spread across the 14 hospitals. These layoffs included twenty high-level employees which included executives and managers.
The Shift to Outpatient Care
The effects of outpatient care can be seen in many areas. There has been a huge growth in the number of micro hospitals, imaging facilities, after hour clinics, surgery and procedure facilities, and retail and physician clinics. This is a true diversification of the healthcare structure which is taking many different shapes and forms.
Telehealth will Become More Prevalent
Telehealth is a huge part of the push for outpatient care. The flexibility and ease that taking care of patients in their own homes has a huge impact. Patients are able to heal in the comforts of their own home and at a lower cost. This is an example of how Ascension hopes to deliver great value by providing comfortable quality telehealth services and care for patients at a reduced price. One of the many ways to experience and produce great outpatient healthcare at a reduced price is through making patient healthcare information and files easily accessible to all related healthcare providers. This, in essence, is a reduction, duplication, and utilization.
Outpatient healthcare provides a variety of options for the patient. One of the benefits of this type of healthcare is access to the closest facilities available to meet the patient's specific needs. Outpatient healthcare is also incredibly adaptive in that it looks for the best ways to meet the needs of patients by focusing on all the variables that affect patients, both spoken and unspoken. Outpatient healthcare seeks to build health services around the key needs of patients.
The Beneficial Impact of Consumerism
Consumerism is expedient. It grants patients access to the health services they need in real time and at a price they can afford. This helps patients who can't afford the high deductibles that have been such a prevalent part of the traditional healthcare system and instead grants them access to the specific type of healthcare they need. In essence, consumerism put the patient in the driver's seat and provides them with information so that they can make informed decisions about the healthcare they need and want. It values the patient as the core decision maker when it comes to his or her own healthcare needs and services.
The Need for Seamless Organization and Analytics in Outpatient Care
Outpatient care requires a great deal of organization and efficiency. The right information must be easily accessible. This requires standardized practices that don't vary, as well as communication that is shared across all the relevant healthcare platforms.
Traditionally, Providing quality healthcare has meant that there was a focus on all the details. Utilizing analytics has allowed healthcare professionals to wade through the vast collection of information and spot inconsistencies, problems, and areas of potential improvement. Analytics allow healthcare professionals to address the exceptions and create substantial changes that help improve the value and quality of the healthcare. Analytics make it easy for healthcare professionals to focus on problems and uncover opportunities for improvement.
As many health systems like Ascensions move away from the traditional hospital system and inch closer to outpatient care and value-based services, many changes will continue to take place as these systems are restructured, rebuilt, and created to support a more outpatient telehealth-based system. There will be components that need to be in place in order for this system to be effective. The use of analytics will
help healthcare providers identify both problems and opportunities as they work
toward building a better, lower cost healthcare system.