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Boost patient experience at first point of contact: The call center

August 28th, 2014

by Andrea J. Simon

I recently worked with a hospital improve its cancer program. It had wonderful doctors and an up-to-date facility. Nurses were very patient-focused and the staff smiled a lot. What could be better?

Yet new patient volumes were sluggish and growth elusive. The hospital found the highly competitive local market very challenging, especially because differentiation--a meaningful point of difference--was pretty much non-existent. In truth, the area hospitals were all pretty much the same. How could it compete? Most of the ideas focused on the patient experience inside the hospital.

So instead, we decided to see what it was like as an outsider trying to find out more about the hospital options if we were diagnosed with cancer. We began our inquiry, with observational research and shopping the experience. We called hospitals in the region, as well as some nationally recognized leaders in cancer care, hoping to learn something of value.

We contacted 20 hospitals and quickly realized something was clearly missing: The basics of a good (let alone great) customer experience. I invite you to call your own call center and see how it presents your excellent services to your consumer.

=> Read more!

Working hard or hardly working? 8 steps to hold productive meetings

August 28th, 2014

by Darlene A. Cunha

Meetings are an inevitable part of every organization, but broken meetings are bad for business. Meetings can lead to productivity or frustration. Unfortunately, many of the meetings we attend leave us feeling like hamsters on a wheel playing catch up with the work we left behind.

As healthcare continues to evolve, I find meetings take an increasing number of hours in the workday, and yet most employees regard them as a waste of time. In a 2012 survey conducted by, U.S. professionals ranked meetings as the No. 1 office productivity killer. Bad meetings waste time, squash employee engagement and get in the way of what your organization's success.

Ask yourself how many meetings you attended, either in person or virtually, and left the meeting feeling it was a waste of time? I can't tell you the number of times I disengaged from meetings because it was unorganized, and thus became preoccupied with the mountain of work I had on my desk.

Recently I attended a meeting that dragged on and on. Everyone sat fiddling with his or her smartphone, and "Joe" from accounting hijacked the meeting for his own agenda. Almost everyone in the room was wondering the same thing: Why am I even here?

This prompted me to revisit this topic.

=> Read more!

Procter & Gamble's lesson for hospitals: Reduce complexity

August 28th, 2014

by Kenneth Kaufman

"We are going to create a faster growing, more profitable company that's far simpler to operate," said Procter & Gamble CEO A. G. Lafley, announcing that the parent company of some of the world's most well-known products would be shedding half of its 200 brands.

The situation that led Procter & Gamble to this move has some striking parallels to the situation for today's hospitals. Like Procter & Gamble, hospitals are well-known brands in their communities. Like Procter & Gamble, hospitals' delivery networks have grown over time, creating great complexity in structure and operations. And like Procter & Gamble, hospitals are legacy organizations in an environment that favors the innovation and speed of upstart companies.

=> Read more!

The evolution of PACS

August 28th, 2014

by Dan Bowman

As the healthcare industry increasingly adopts new accountable care payment models, providers must determine the most cost-effective ways to deliver quality patient care. In the case of radiologists, that means improving communication with fellow doctors and cutting back on unnecessary imaging as reimbursement dollars will be handed out based, not on the volume of patient tests conducted, but the sustained good health of those patients.

To that end, the evolution of picture archiving and communication systems (PACS) is crucial.

"PACS is good for many things; it's changed the way we practice and we're not going back to film, for sure," Reuben Mezrich, a professor and former chair of the department of diagnostic radiology and nuclear medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, tells FierceMedicalImaging. "But, it's incomplete because of the way it's evolved as a standalone system. It needs to be integrated far better into the hospital or clinical information systems, and there has to be an enormously improved means of communication between physicians and radiologists."

In this special report, you'll hear from Mezrich and two other radiologists--Jonathan Berlin, clinical professor of radiology, University of Chicago at NorthShore University Health System, and Matt Hawkins, a pediatric interventional radiologist and assistant professor in the department of radiology and imaging sciences at Emory University in Atlanta--about the evolution of PACS going forward. They'll discuss the strengths and shortcomings of current systems, and share their thoughts on both anticipated short-term tweaks and longer-term changes with an eye on the shifting healthcare industry landscape

>> Read the full story at FierceMedicalImaging

Small hospital changes can make big healthcare impact

August 21st, 2014

by Scott Kashman

In April 2011, President Obama discussed his plan to curb the growth of healthcare costs.

The framework called for $340 billion in cuts over 10 years and $480 billion by 2023 (including the proposals already included in the president's budget). Over the subsequent decade, the president's proposal will save more than $1 trillion by further bending the cost curve, doubling the savings from the Affordable Care Act. That plan called for increasing the amount of uninsured by 50 million people.

Throughout my career, one thing remained constant: Our evolving and transforming healthcare industry. We could get ourselves really frustrated if we chase every headline. So the question is, what can you do to influence your organization's destiny?

=> Read more!

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