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by Barry Ronan
At the end of January 2014, I had the opportunity to speak at the American Hospital Association's Board Retreat in Miami, "Redefining the H." As AHA President and CEO Rich Umbdenstock explained, "that big H on those blue and white signs denoting 'Hospital' always carried the promise of help, hope and healing; the hospital of the future will continue to extend that promise but in new ways by improving quality while lowering cost."
Prior to my presentation, Rick said that the environment in which hospitals operate is extraordinarily challenging, but--by becoming proactive rather than reactive and keeping people healthy, by moving care out of the hospital and into the communities, by increasing the use of medical and information technologies, and by applying evidence-based practices to better manage all illnesses more effectively--hospitals will meet their commitment to their respective communities.
His opening was a great lead in for my presentation on our transition to value-based care delivery three and one-half years ago and the success that Western Maryland Health System achieved through the Total Patient Revenue demonstration project that is now the standard in Maryland healthcare delivery.
This past weekend we brought our son to a student acceptance day at a college he is considering attending.
As we participated in the numerous events of the day I was struck by the similarities between academia and healthcare, i.e., colleges and hospitals.
We began the day with hundreds of other students and parents listening to the opening presentation, where much focus was placed on sharing the history, mission, good works and values of the school. The pride of the president, admissions director and other organization leaders was clear. And each made note of how they instill these values in each student of this prestigious school.
Patient experience is among the top three hospital priorities today. Caregiver engagement is one of the most essential strategies for improving the patient experience. Within caregivers, volunteers represent a large population we should not forget, but rather leverage to deliver better experiences.
Next week (April 6-12), the United States celebrates National Volunteer Week's 40th anniversary. Since the 1980s, most evidence-based studies on healthcare volunteers focused on the financial and productivity implications to healthcare organizations.
Specifically, two recent studies link healthcare volunteerism to organizational performance, patient satisfaction, and the overall experience of patients and their families. In honor of the generous contribution and dedication that volunteers bring to healthcare, I'd like to shine a light on the "human touch" that volunteers offer patients and families.
By now you have probably read about my saga.
Part of settling mom into her new residence was arranging for her first visit with a new primary care physician. Here is a little bit about how it went: The physician looked over her records before coming into the room. At 92, mom has a litany of ailments and medications, but using a walker has been her only compromise in recent years. When the physician entered, he quickly dispensed with the clinical aspects of her care.
If you are a C-suite executive in healthcare, how confident are you that there are no fraud and abuse issues related to your employees, vendors and supply chain transactions? It is typical for a medium-sized hospital to have 4,000 vendors and hundreds of thousands of transactions over the course of a year.
How do we traditionally monitor the validity of our vendors, the integrity of our employees and the accuracy of our transactions?
Normally we accomplish this through a one-time vendor verification that may only require they fill out a W-9 and perhaps check their certificate of good standing. Then there's the normal check and balance of authorizations along with monitoring by an internal audit department, culminating with an annual external audit for the purposes of verifying the accuracy of tax filings and other required governmental reports.
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