Healthcare's Next Trick: Economic Stabilizer

Chelsea Rice, for HealthLeaders Media , December 10, 2012

Staffing and productivity is being monitored on an every four-hour, every six-hour basis, she says, which is unusual for hospitals who used to take census at midnight every day and staff accordingly.

"But IT, particularly physicians and CMIOs, that's going to continue to be a very key position moving forward for a lot of different reasons, but particularly around these productivity improvement reasons," says Mackey-Ross. "That's why having a CMIO is so important in this transition, because they can balance the data that's coming out with the clinical knowledge and the understanding of what an enterprise means, to provide high-quality care and yet still manage costs."

"I think you're going to see more creativity around the kinds of jobs that are created in hospitals. I'm going to be surprised if more full-time jobs are created on the acute care side," says Mackey-Ross. With flu season and hospitals' typical uptick in revenue and patient volumes, Mackey-Ross anticipates that hiring will pick up again at the beginning of the year. The beginning of the financial quarter and New Year budgets also provide the revenue for job creation.

Smith predicts the coming year will bring national job growth that averages 180,000 monthly. If the winter/summer booms and busts continue, he expects winter booms could spike as high as 280,000 or 300,000 a month. "Underneath all that though, there are strengthening signs for the economy, and that's what really matters," he says.

Chelsea Rice is an associate editor for HealthLeaders Media.
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