Hospital administrators have a lot on their plates. Between managing finances, big projects and the daily operations of a hospital, priorities are constantly shifting. However, some tasks must take precedence over others if healthcare executives want their facilities to survive and thrive in an era of value-based care.
Dr. Suneel Dhand, an internal medicine physician and author, recently wrote a blog post for KevinMD.com about some of the top issues hospital administrators continually face in the current healthcare climate – and how they can best tackle them.
According to Dr. Dhand, here are the three most significant issues healthcare execs need to prioritize going forward:
- Patient satisfaction. Many hospital administrators are at a loss as to how they can boost patient satisfaction scores, especially as they become more critical for reimbursement. But, as Dr. Dhand said, improving the patient experience “is not rocket science.” When tackling this issue, healthcare executives should focus on the basics, such as reducing noise and making rooms more comfortable so patients can sleep better, offering better food options, and being more transparent about wait times.
- Quality improvement initiatives. In some cases, hospitals implement new programs designed to improve quality of care that don’t end up producing the results they expected. Here, it’s critical to find the root of the problem by retracing your steps. Common factors that could be hindering the initiative’s success include lack of buy-in from clinical staff, disengagement due to initial negative results, or a general lack of energy or enthusiasm.
- Physician cooperation. Occasionally, hospital administrators may end up taking an “us vs. them” approach to their facility’s doctors, especially if they’re being resistant to big changes. This attitude only makes the process more difficult, and it can make physicians feel resentful, furthering the divide. To keep this from happening, communication is key. Explain why changes must be made, using clear, honest language. Give doctors proof in the form of hard numbers, if necessary. Above all, show appreciation for their efforts – offering incentives may be helpful here.
To make further progress in these areas, it’s helpful to look at what other top hospitals are doing successfully and use them as models for improvement.
Many of the leaders in these facilities share common characteristics: They work closely with their doctors, communicate information about changes effectively and lead by example. These traits, combined with other important leadership qualities such as empathy and thoughtfulness, are essential for healthcare executives who want to tackle their top challenges and keep their facilities moving forward.