"In the early years [of adopting this program] we said we can't be successful unless we change the mind of senior leadership, so they were the first people we trained … it's really a critical piece of the process," he says.
The return on investment for this type of system-wide process improvement, Kaplan says, extends beyond revenue enhancement. VMMC has also seen its professional liability expenses decrease to the tune of millions of dollars for several years now and its self-insured retention requirement dramatically decrease from the previous year. Plus with healthcare reform taking hold and the decreased reimbursements hitting everyone's bottom line, Kaplan believes that this approach is even more relevant today than ever.
The quick fixes are few and far between these days for health systems and process improvement programs—though they can work on a small scale—have an even greater potential when they are rolled out on a larger one. As healthcare leaders look for strategies to help them generate more revenue, process improvement methodologies can cut out system waste while improving the overall quality of the care that is delivered. Ultimately that will generate even greater returns.