4 Top Concerns of Healthcare CFOs

Rene Letourneau, for HealthLeaders Media , September 9, 2013

At HealthLeaders Media's recent CFO Exchange, top finance executives from hospitals and health systems opened up about EHRs, health insurance exchanges, and other strategic challenges.

HealthLeaders recently gathered nearly 40 chief financial officers from hospitals and health systems from around the country for our annual CFO Exchange—a three-day event designed to give attendees a chance to share strategies and solutions for tackling some of their most complex challenges through a series of peer-driven roundtable discussions.

Mary Ann Freas

Mary Ann Freas, senior vice president and CFO at Southwest General Health Center in Middleburg Heights, OH

While at the event, I took the opportunity to ask these executives what they see as the biggest financial problems their organizations are currently facing. Four themes clearly emerged:

1.Electronic Medical Records

Mary Ann Freas, senior vice president and CFO at Southwest General Health Center in Middleburg Heights, OH, says her institution is grappling with the implementation of a new EHR, an initiative that may not lead to operational efficiencies—at least not immediately—despite its high price tag.

"A particular challenge that we face is the current transition to the electronic health record. Unlike many industries, banking comes to mind, the implementation of automation in healthcare often comes with the need for more staff as opposed to allowing for less."

Freas also notes the need to rethink workflows before installing an EHR. "The implementation of a system in itself will not achieve efficiency if the underlying process is not thoroughly examined prior to the implementation."

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