Healthcare News & Insights

Survey: Hospital execs have a bright view of the future of health care

Wondering what other healthcare execs are thinking about the effects of healthcare reform on the future of hospitals? Many are surprisingly optimistic.

WorkMeetingAccording to a recent survey of C-suite executives from U.S. hospitals and health systems conducted by Health Affairs, 65% of execs think that by the year 2020, the healthcare system will either be somewhat or significantly better than it is currently due to healthcare reform.

Their positive thoughts were even more pronounced when discussing the future of their own facilities. Nearly all (93%) execs surveyed said that the quality of care provided to patients by their own institution would improve by 2020.

Optimism was also shown in the area of cost saving. In fact, 91% thought their own health system would improve on saving costs by 2020, and 85% anticipate lower per-patient operating costs by then as well. Overall, execs surveyed expected to reduce total costs by an average of 11.7% in the next six years.

Hospital execs predicted they’d save even more money if reimbursement shifts toward a bundled, value-based care model. If this happens, total costs would be reduced by 16%.

How execs plan to adapt

The top three areas these execs will be focusing on to become more cost effective are:

  • Reducing the number of hospitalizations (54%)
  • Reducing the number of readmissions (49%), and
  • Reducing the number of emergency room visits (39%).

Other strategies they plan to use include reducing the costs of medical devices (36%), reducing the costs of drugs (27%) and improving back office efficiency (23%).

Per the Health Affairs article, execs said they’ll use a combination of “greater administrative efficiency, price reductions, and reduced reliance on hospital services” to achieve their goals in saving healthcare costs.

The feds’ role

To provide the most cost-effective care, hospital execs indicated that the federal government should play a part in cost reduction.  Close to a third of execs surveyed (31%) supported the idea of the government creating an official Medicare policy with a specific timeline for shifting reimbursement from fee-to-service to value-based.

Another 30% thought the best approach would be to make a rule aligning Medicare payment policies with those of private payors. And 28% believed that Medicare should pay hospitals separately for training and research while maintaining current funding levels. This would allow hospitals to better allocate their financial resources.

Laying the foundation

Many of these execs are so confident in their hospital’s ability to adapt to the changing healthcare landscape because they’ve already made steps toward prioritizing value over volume.

As detailed in Health Affairs, these hospitals have become more patient-centered institutions. Using data in electronic health records, they’re able to better coordinate patients’ post-discharge care to keep them from returning to the hospital. And this strategy saves costs while improving patient outcomes.

With a mindset like this, it’s clear why these execs are confident in their hospitals’ ability to survive and thrive in the changing healthcare landscape.

What do you think of the future of health care? Are you as optimistic about your hospital’s performance in the next decade as these execs are? Let us know in the comments.

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