linkedin twitter youtube facebook flickr TeleSource Community Contact Us

Blog

Conversations about Optimizing Hospital Operations

Teaching Efficiency to Tomorrow’s Health Professionals

Teaching Efficiency to Tomorrow's Health ProfessionalsTo shift the healthcare paradigm in America, follow the money.

To illustrate that, Medical Educator, Dr. David Nash, recently pointed to five medical schools in Philadelphia.

“Those five medical schools aren’t focused on the health of populations,” Nash said recently in an August 15, 2014 Forbes article – ‘Health Reform as Simple as Changing Incentives.  David Nash, MD, MBA is the founding dean of Thomas Jefferson University’s School of Population Health.

 

Instead, they (the medical schools) focus on episodic acute care because that’s where the money is now.

“You change the way we get paid, we will change the way we practice tomorrow.”

Dr. Nash made the remarks while discussing how the Affordable Care Act is nudging our health system away from fee-for-service to population health.

It raises an interesting question. If healthcare education is influenced by the way money is made, can it also be influenced by the way money is saved?

How many U.S. schools of health administration currently have rich curricula on making hospitals operate more efficiently?

We’re not talking about over-testing or unnecessary treatment procedures, although that certainly needs to be addressed. We’re talking about shorter length of stay, better throughput, staffing to demand, etc.  Basically, all the things that go into delivering the care that students of medicine and healthcare administration will be responsible for providing.

While most recognize that there is waste in the national healthcare system, the conversation is still focused on the overuse of resources – especially on the clinical side. Billions of dollars can be saved each year by removing the waste that exists on the operational side.

We’d venture to guess that the Toyota quality and efficiency story is taught in every MBA program in the nation, along with a host of other productivity case studies.

Undoubtedly, health administration programs include case studies of hospitals that have adopted programs to make their operations better.

But Toyota’s success was built around one factor that is most likely missing in health administration curricula – automation.

For all intents and purposes, the early auto industry invented automation. Toyota’s task was to make that central process more productive while improving the quality of the cars it produced. The people-oriented process changes undertaken by Toyota took into account that automation was central to productivity.

In hospitals, the reverse holds true. Processes revolve around people. The task is to figure out how automation can enhance their productivity.

We don’t expect that automation, such as what TeleTracking provides, will ever be central to a post graduate program in healthcare administration. However, we do believe that just as medical school curricula will be altered to deal with the new reality of population health, health administration programs should reflect the role that automation can play in making hospitals run smoother and more economically.

As we shift to new reimbursement models, efficiency will become ever increasingly important to the good “health” of the hospitals that serve the population.

Categories: Author: Dennis Morabito, Efficiency vs. Effectiveness, Operational Efficiency