Strategic Planning

Healthcare News of Note: Unlocking new revenue streams is the healthcare industry’s top priority, while workforce issues are its top risk

September 8, 2023 8:53 am
  • Talent acquisition and retention is the healthcare industry’s main risk, according to 82% of executives surveyed.  
  • Breast and chest surgery was the most common class of gender-affirming procedure performed in the United States during a three-year period.
  • More emergency medicine physicians indicated they were burned out than other physician specialty groups surveyed on the topic.

Over the past few weeks, I have found these industry news stories that should be of interest to healthcare finance professionals.

1. Introducing new revenue streams is the top priority for the healthcare sector, and talent acquisition/retention is its top risk, survey says

More executives in healthcare (44%) selected “introducing new revenue streams” as their main strategic priority for the next three to five years — 18 percentage points higher than the industrial sector, in which 26% of executives ranked new revenue streams as a top priority, says a PwC Pulse Survey conducted in early August.

None of the other sectors surveyed — consumer markets, energy/utilities, financial services and tech/media/telecom — chose implementing new revenue streams as a top priority.

Healthcare executives rank priorities

The 45 healthcare executives participating in the PwC survey ranked the following priorities for the sector as follows:  

  • 44% – Introducing new revenue streams
  • 29% – Embedding new technologies into their business model
  • 11% – Digitizing operating models
  • 7% – Transforming existing products by integrating digital features
  • 2% – Improving resiliency
  • 2% – Making the supply chain and products more sustainable

Additionally, 4% selected “none of the above.”

Among the other sectors, 37% of tech/media/telecom executives and 28% of consumer-market executives chose embedding “new technologies into our business model” as their top priority.

Healthcare’s main risk: acquiring and retaining talent

Additionally, 82% of healthcare executive respondents saw talent acquisition and retention as the industry’s main risk.

“The healthcare industry continues to face a talent crisis, with clinicians leaving their jobs because they have burned out, stressed out or aged out of the profession,” wrote the survey authors. “Severe clinical workforce shortages, combined with increased patient demand, are compounding inflationary pressures. It’s little surprise, then, that talent acquisition and retention is the biggest risk to health industry companies.”

2. Gender-affirming surgeries triple over 3-year time span, says JAMA study

Gender-affirming surgeries performed in the U.S. “increased dramatically,” nearly tripling from 2016 to 2019, according to a JAMA Network Open article published Aug. 23.

“Breast and chest surgery is the most common class of procedure performed while patients are most likely to undergo surgery between the ages of 19 and 30 years,” wrote the authors, adding, “The number of genital surgical procedures performed increased with increasing age.”

Within the cohort, 31,668 patients (65.9%) had one procedure, 13,415 (27.9%) had two procedures, and 2,936 (6.2%) had multiple procedures concurrently, wrote the authors.

Most common types of surgeries

According to study findings, the most common procedures during the period were classified as follows:

  • Breast and chest procedures were performed on 27,187 patients (56.6%).
  • Genital reconstruction was done on 16,872 patients (35.1%).
  • Facial and cosmetic procedures were performed on 6,669 patients (13.9%).

“These findings suggest that there will be a greater need for clinicians knowledgeable in the care of transgender individuals with the requisite expertise to perform gender-affirming procedures,” the authors wrote.

Other results

The study reveals additional findings, including:

  • The overall number of health system encounters for gender identity disorder rose from 13,855 in 2016 to 38,470 in 2020.
  • Most patients — 42,467, or 88.4% — were treated at urban teaching hospitals.
  • Private insurance coverage was most common, accounting for 29,064 patients, or 60.5% of the total, while 12,127 (25.3%) were Medicaid beneficiaries.

3. Which 6 physician specialty groups reported the most burnout, per AMA survey?

More emergency medicine physicians indicated they were burned out in 2022 than other physician specialty groups surveyed on the topic, according to results of the American Medical Association’s (AMA’s) latest benchmarking report*, which was announced Aug. 29 in a news release.

The report reviews six key performance indicators: job satisfaction, job stress, burnout, intent to leave an organization, feeling valued by an organization and total hours spent per week on work-related activities.

Top 6 specialties experiencing burnout

While the overall burnout rate for physicians in 2022 was 53%, according to the report, the highest percentages were reported by these specialties:

  1. Emergency medicine: 62%
  2. Hospital medicine: 59%
  3. Family medicine: 58%
  4. Pediatrics: 55%
  5. Obstetrics and gynecology: 54%
  6. Internal medicine: 52%

*The report is based on more than 13,000 responses from physicians and nonphysician providers across 30 states, received from more than 70 health systems.

HFMA resources

For more content on healthcare staff burnout:

Read “How investing in the workforce can improve a health system’s bottom line,” an article by Rodney B. Hanners, CEO, Keck Medicine of USC, Los Angeles, in the April edition of hfm.

Listen to “Sleepless in the C-suite: Workforce, Part 1,” the first of three episodes of a Voices in Healthcare Finance podcast series, hosted by Erika Grotto, that tackles healthcare staffing issues.

HFMA bonus content

  • Read the September issue of hfm, including the article “Heffernan and Stoll honored with 2023 Morgan Awards,” by Crystal Milazzo, senior editor, and my feature “Improved cost effectiveness is a common theme among hfm’s 2022-2023 Best Article Award winners.”
  • Sign up for the Sept. 14 HFMA webinar “Reimagining Time Studies to Improve Financial Results.”
  • Read “Money received through the Provider Relief Fund could be at risk as audits ramp up,” a Sept. 1 article by Nick Hut, senior editor.
  • Read theFY 2024 IPPS/LTCH Final Rule Summary,” which has been posted on HFMA’s Regulatory and Accounting Resources page.


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