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Hospitals that are just beginning to focus on projects that enhance quality of care and reduce costs should first take on "easy wins," defined in HFMA's most recent Value Project report as "areas where improvements are clearly needed, staff are motivated to make improvements, and sufficient data are available to quantify successes clearly." Healthcare finance professionals can help their organizations pinpoint quick-win opportunities to increase value through a number of steps, including the following.

Take part in discussions regarding care redesign, reengineering of processes, and more. At Partners HealthCare in Boston, the involvement of finance professionals has helped the organization in managing care costs across the continuum of care, managing registry of patients (i.e., tracking patients in the target areas and maintaining their information within a database), and ensuring availability of accurate data related to cost and utilization.

Develop tools for hospital leaders to compare and prioritize performance improvement projects. For example, Bellin Health in Green Bay, Wis., created a template for hospital leaders to easily manage performance improvement projects, hold teams accountable for performance, and gauge the results of these initiatives. The steps for Bellin Health's project management process are listed in the exhibit below.



View the template for Bellin Health's project charter.

Ensure that performance improvement initiatives are tied to the organization's strategy. At Bellin Health, "We strongly believe healthcare organizations need a business model or framework for making decisions that will help them achieve their mission and vision and strategy," says Pete Knox, executive vice president and chief innovation and learning officer for the health system. Finance professionals have the discipline to look at their organizations' resources, gauge their organizations' capabilities for driving change, and take an active role in focusing efforts on initiatives that will advance their organizations' mission and vision and enhance value.

For more information, see Jeni Williams's "Finding Your Organization's Sweet Spots for Cost Management," hfm, March 2012


Publication Date: Thursday, March 01, 2012

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