It's the beginning of a new year, and if you're like me, you're glad to put the past one well behind you. Personally, my family and I had a move, a flood, and a bunch of other crazy stuff happen to us this year, so we're turning the page. I'm sure you're doing that as well.
Now that you've had a few months to digest some of the big changes coming to the industry, you've probably got at least an idea of the key strategies on which your organization's success will depend this year and in the long-term future. But just in case you hadn't considered some of the following broad themes, here are a few ideas at some resolutions you might want to make for the new year.
1. Bring risk back into your financial equations
At least since the days of capitation in the middle of the last decade, many healthcare providers (and I use that term to include any entity that provides a healthcare service) haven't had to worry about risk. There are exceptions, of course, but by and large, you've negotiated prices for certain services with major commercial payers and you got what you got from Medicare and Medicaid. But for the most part, you haven't been responsible for quality or outcomes.
As healthcare reform legislation matures, that's changing rapidly not only for government payers, but also for commercial payers, who are placing ever more conditions on payment for services, depending on how well the patient does following the service. It's the reason for the word "accountable" in the latest buzz term that's scaring everyone to death—the accountable care organization. Speaking of which…
2. Learn from the best (and from their mistakes)
Keep a close eye on the accountable care pilot programs and demonstration projects going on at health systems across the country.