Column | Innovation and Disruption

Identifying Opportunities for Innovation in Healthcare Finance

Column | Innovation and Disruption

Identifying Opportunities for Innovation in Healthcare Finance

Healthcare finance leaders should be attuned to the presence of opportunities for innovative improvements that may exist all around them.

“Innovation is this amazing intersection between someone’s imagination and the reality in which they live.”

—Ron Johnson


Last month, I shared my thoughts about steps we can take to foster innovation in healthcare finance. One key step is identifying opportunities to innovate. That may sound daunting, but it is actually easier than you may think. The key is knowing where to look.

Take, for example, Russell Conwell’s Acres of Diamonds—it’s a story about Al Hafed, a wealthy man who owned a large farm in south central India. Al Hafed lived a contented life, until an ancient Buddhist priest told him of the existence of diamonds, the world’s most valuable mineral. Al Hafed became so obsessed with the idea of becoming incredibly wealthy that he sold his farm and traveled the world to find the precious gemstones. Ultimately, he spent all his money and, penniless and despondent, drowned himself.

In the meantime, while watering his camel one day, the new owner of Al Hafed’s farm noticed a brightly colored rock glinting in the brook and took it home. A few days later, the old Buddhist priest returned to the farm and, seeing the colorful rock on the mantel, recognized it as a large diamond in the rough. This led to the discovery of the diamond mine of Golconda—one of the world’s most magnificent diamond mines.

The lesson is simple. You do not need to look elsewhere. Opportunities for innovation are closer than you may think—perhaps as close as your own backyard.

An example from my own career with Geisinger is when we created a package price for cardiac artery bypass graft surgery and gave a “guarantee” that insulated the patient and payer from additional charges for related complications. It brought the clinicians, finance professionals, patient, and payer together to deliver best practices, improving cost and quality simultaneously.

HFMA has been similarly innovative in recent months by identifying areas where we could do some of the things we were already doing in different ways to better meet our members’ needs. As a result, we are transforming our traditional association membership model to offer members better ways to access healthcare finance news, educational content, virtual conferences, certifications, research, and more. Examples include HFMA’s new Enterprise Solutions membership program and our reimagined Annual Conference, which reflected members’ desires for a more meaningful, contemporary learning and networking environment.

So what opportunities for innovation are waiting in your backyard? You already own a diamond mine. Get out there and mine it!

About the Authors

Kevin Brennan
FHFMA
CPA

Advertisements

Related Articles | Innovation and Disruption

Blog | Financial Sustainability

National Academy of Medicine paper explores transformation opportunities for health systems

Authored by leaders of four large health systems and two hospital associations, a new paper examines priorities for healthcare transformation from the perspective of care delivery organizations.

Sponsored Content | Budgeting

40% of hospitals reconsidering traditional budgeting amid pandemic: HFMA poll

A n October 2020 HFMA survey, by Strata Decision Technology, found that the COVID-19 pandemic prompted many U.S. hospitals to consider moving from a traditional budgeting process to rolling forecasting, with one in five already having made the move.

News | Coronavirus

Healthcare News of Note: Hospitals await disbursement of remaining COVID-19 relief funds

Healthcare News of Note for healthcare finance professionals is a roundup of recent news articles, including hospitals waiting on COVID-19 relief funds, HHS postponing implementation of the SUNSET rule and confirmation of a new HHS assistant secretary for health who is the first openly transgender person to be confirmed for a position by the Senate.

Trend | Financial Sustainability

Rising risk due to COVID-19 requires a nimble response from health systems

The factors that define risk in healthcare have markedly changed with the pandemic, creating a need for healthcare executives to evaluate and update existing strategies and operations to address emerging areas of risk that previously had not commanded their attention.