Management in healthcare has long been a complicated balancing act. On one hand, healthcare executives need to manage the everyday operations of an organization. On the other hand, or perhaps more importantly, healthcare leaders and organizations need to maintain a clear focus on delivering effective and efficient patient care.
Numerous trends have been changing how healthcare is being delivered to patients. While new technology has largely improved and streamlined care by helping both patients and providers, many problems faced by healthcare leaders have still yet to be resolved.
There is a large host of challenges associated with running a healthcare organization such as staffing, funding, ethics, and new technology. Despite the challenges, healthcare leaders have been innovative and persistent in addressing them within their organizations to do their part in driving the healthcare industry forward.
To dive deeper into some of those challenges and possible working solutions, we approached several leaders in the healthcare industry to share their insights.
Every day is an ethics exam. There’s a lot of money involved in a high-growth company and a lot of temptation to abandon the greater good, the good of individuals, and the good of patients in order to get a quick gain. One of the hardest parts is staying on the right end of the moral compass. To address that challenge, I created a motto for myself and the company: “Do right by the patient and all else will fall into place”.
I believe the biggest challenge for our organization is maintaining quality employees who are excited about their roles in the organization and have the ability to make a daily impact on our successes. Finding and keeping folks who think of the organization and the people they serve above themselves is a goal that we think about every day.
We experience the same struggle our clients have with the day-to-day demands of meeting expectations, delivering on our mission and trying to do more with less. In growth stages, the struggle is accentuated with creating the right balance of hiring to continue the business’ trajectories.
Many health systems, for example, have exceptional opportunities for new business lines. However, they can’t invest in more FTEs to deliver the value. Thus, we have to come up with solutions to help them deliver the expected outcomes and improve the patient journey so they can add more FTEs for future growth. Some are successful at this, and some are not. It’s the ones that have the right culture and investment in their employees that get them to roll up their sleeves and get to work.
Staffing is a concern, specifically finding the right type of personality to match the culture of the organization. Performance measures are getting more defined, as healthcare funders (whether insurance companies or government) want to validate that they are getting full value for their investments.
As a former healthcare executive and a current advisor to healthcare systems and hospitals across the country, the biggest challenge we see healthcare organizations facing is a disconnect between its executives and physician workforce.
One of the strategies we use with healthcare systems to remove this obstacle to growth and align physicians and executives is to create a shared vision. By creating a shared vision in concert with key leaders, staff and physician leaders, ownership of the vision is created and the healthcare system begins to see alignment between its workforces.
The Permanente Medical Group is focusing on providing personalization of care, and the challenge is continuing to make it convenient and affordable as we address the ever-changing dynamic of the healthcare environment. One way we deliver convenient quality care to our patients is through email communications and video visits. Video visits with physicians are especially helpful in certain departments such as Pediatrics, where busy parents can use video for routine pediatric visits instead of taking time off from work to come into the doctor’s office. These virtual visits are always offered as an option, and members can always request an in-person visit.
As shared by our healthcare leaders, healthcare organizations face a large variety of difficult challenges in working towards delivering care. Some challenges are prevalent across several healthcare organizations, while others are more unique to the specific spaces that their organizations operate within.
While there are a large number of challenges to overcome, some also pose exciting opportunities for executives to explore and leverage. In a constantly shifting healthcare environment, it will be important for leaders to communicate across organizations and share their solutions to provide the best care for patients.