Three Ways to Survive Cutthroat Competition in Healthcare

Philip Betbeze, for HealthLeaders Media , September 18, 2009

Who knows more about the kinks in your processes than the people who perform them? No one. That's why it's so important to find ways to engage these people to re-engineer processes that are wasteful. Rewards for rooting out inefficiencies can be effective. So can promises that any inefficiencies uncovered by anyone won't result in any job cuts.

3. Cost and quality are king. The sooner you act on it the better off you'll be.
The protective bubble of operating in a fee-for-service environment is ending, and you know it better than anyone. That means it's more important than ever to be a low-cost, high-quality supplier of healthcare services. Make sure you're able to demonstrate to payers why they're better off sending their patients to you for certain procedures that your hospital or system performs well. As time goes on, doing so positions you for better reimbursement in the future.

Having more payment at risk for quality outcomes is both an advantage and disadvantage. It may help you to decide that you're not competitive in a certain service and to discontinue offering it (see above). It may help you stand out and grow while the rest of your competitors eliminate that service. Regardless, you'll be in a better position as accountability receives greater influence on the number of dollars coming in your door.

By recognizing that more competition is coming to healthcare and acting to improve your organization's standing among your peers, you're ensuring the long-term success of your organization, your career, and the careers of others whom you care about in the hospital or system you lead.

Philip Betbeze is senior leadership editor with HealthLeaders Media.

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