With Economy Stabilizing, Hospital Executives Focus on Big Data to Improve Cost Efficiencies and Quality
"There has been a promising uptick in executive confidence about the overall economy," said
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (or ACA, also informally known as Obamacare) continues to be a concern, and most executives believe the full impact has not yet been realized. Some executives have observed higher volumes of insured patients in the outpatient setting, which they attribute to the new healthcare law, but outpatient growth has been at the expense of inpatient volumes.
The true cause for anxiety is declining reimbursement. More than 60% of surveyed executives identified reimbursement cuts as one of their chief concerns. "The implication is that executives are concerned that any increase in volume of insured patients from the new healthcare law will not offset the significant cuts they are seeing in reimbursement," added Christianson. With costs constrained, a third of executives reported staffing cuts in the first half of this year, and over 40% expect their spending on large capital equipment to fall over the next year.
To adjust to the new healthcare environment, many hospitals are investing in new healthcare IT solutions designed to provide efficiency and cost management benefits, including Population Health Management (PHM) and Enterprise Business Intelligence (BI) solutions. "We are entering a post-EMR [Electronic Medical Records] world," noted Christianson, who also mentioned that nearly 90% of hospitals in the survey have a fully functional EMR system. "Executives are asking themselves, 'We have an EMR, so what's next?'"
To improve cost efficiencies, more hospitals are participating in group purchasing organizations (GPOs) and accountable care organization (ACO) initiatives. There is also growing interest in partnering with federal and private payors in risk-based contracting, which executives expect to have a dramatic impact on cost management. The most common risk-based models in use today are the shared savings and bundled payments models, but hospitals and payors are experimenting with a variety of different approaches. To date, risk-based contracting has penetrated a relatively small proportion of US hospitals, but almost half of executives who are not currently participating in risk-based contracting plan to begin implementation within the next 12 months. Risk-based contracting also relies heavily on healthcare IT solutions to manage patients, track supply chain activity, and contain costs.
Additional metrics in ITG's new report include purchase trends for robotic surgical equipment, large capital equipment, and a variety of cardiovascular, orthopedic, and spine implants. Furthermore,
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ITG's HOSPITAL EXECUTIVES is a syndicated report series launched in 2011 that tracks and analyzes leading indicators and key metrics that define the US hospital industry. These bi-annual reports provide timely insights and forward-looking projections to support more informed decision-making regarding the impact of new products, changing economic conditions, financial pressures, regulatory constraints, managed care policies, and governmental regulations on hospital purchasing plans and market dynamics. ITG Market Research is excited to announce that coverage will be expanded to include top developed markets in
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