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Industry needs national database to measure hospital improvement initiatives

November 26th, 2014

by Lynn McVey

In 1962, I was 5 years old. Every kid on my block had a Kool-Aid stand. "Why would anyone buy from me?" I asked myself.

So I put my Kool-Aid into my Radio Flyer red wagon and wheeled it around the block to where they were building new homes. A sweaty construction worker immediately walked up and bought a nickel cup from me. He handed me a dollar, but I had no change yet. "Keep it," he said. He stood his folded dollar upright in my ceramic cow creamer cash register.

As each new sweaty construction worker asked how much, I nodded towards the proud dollar. I made $20 selling fifty cents worth of Kool-Aid in one hour. Wouldn't you do everything you could to produce as many cups of Kool-Aid as possible? There would be no limit to your revenue. Each cup of Kool-Aid held profit.

=> Read more!

Daily feedback more effective than annual performance reviews

November 26th, 2014

by Darlene A. Cunha

Performance reviews create angst and fear. We all have to give them, and almost everyone who's evaluated hates it. More often than not, it is a pretentious, bogus practice that produces nothing any thinking executive would call a plus. Don't get me wrong, reviewing performance is good, but it should happen every day, not once a year.

Recently, I gave a performance review to an employee who struggled with some basic job responsibilities. On three separate occasions I met with this employee to discuss the unsatisfactory performance, and outlined how to improve the work. The employee was perplexed and shocked, having never been evaluated like that before.

In preparation for the annual review, I retrieved the prior years evaluation. I was taken aback -- The review made no mention of any inferior performance. On the contrary, it praised this employee's work. Where was the disconnect. Did I get it all wrong?

=> Read more!

Highmark: Insurers should embrace telemedicine

November 26th, 2014

by Dori Zweig

Pittsburgh-based Highmark recognizes the importance of technology. That's why the insurer decided to cover online visits via Iagnosis, a tele-dermatology solution, for 5.2 million of its members.

While insurers are slowly incorporating telemedicine into their health plan offerings, many doctors worry the increased use of online visits with patients could lead to wrong diagnoses.

FierceHealthPayer spoke with Donald R. Fischer, M.D., Highmark senior vice president and chief medical officer, about the insurer's decision to cover this service, as well as some of the obstacles that may plague insurers who want to follow in Highmark's footsteps.

>> Read the full interview here

Rural healthcare in crisis: What does the future hold?

November 26th, 2014

by Zack Budryk

Rural healthcare providers are at a crossroads. Faced with the same problems as the rest of the industry as it transitions from a fee-for-service model to value-based care, rural providers must also contend with a shortage of healthcare workers, the threat of a new process to recertify critical access hospitals and, in the case of states that did not expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, cuts to disproportionate share hospitals without the increase in Medicaid dollars to offset them.

So what can rural providers do to deal with the deepening crisis?

FierceHealthcare talked to rural health leaders and experts to get their thoughts on how best to save rural healthcare.

>> Click here to read the special report

Communication, transparency essential in evolving community hospitals

November 20th, 2014

by Mina Ubbing

The trade magazines are full of listings of healthcare consolidations and mergers. Politicians talk about how healthcare reform will create mega systems. Large organizations like the Cleveland Clinic reach far from their home base to form affiliations. The number of independent community hospitals continues to shrink.

You are the CEO or CFO of that endangered species known as the independent community hospital. Despite these trends, your board and community rely on your leadership to preserve the independence of the hospital. Larger systems pressure you. Your staff is concerned about their jobs, the medical staff feels the pressure and sleep eludes you. What can you do?

=> Read more!

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