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Hospitals and the recession

March 6th, 2009

by Tony Chen

Here's a few things I've been hearing from other hospitals on the impact of this recession.

"Bad debt is going through the roof."

"Even administrative employees are being asked to take unpaid time off, go on furloughs."

"Merit increases are frozen. So are open positions."

"Surprisingly, volumes are up 5 to 8 percent from last year. It's just that we're not getting paid for the services we provided."

"We are actually having one of the strongest years in the hospital's history."

"We're actually doing okay, though we are reconsidering a major capital project."

One thing to recognize is that while we like to look at national numbers, our hospital systems all operate in local environments. Yes, all of our investment incomes were smashed, but each market (some folks say it's probably 250 to 300 local markets around the country) will have unique dynamics to deal with.

=> Read more!

What will we be talking about in a year?

February 24th, 2009

by Tony Chen

Think back just a year ago, to February 2008. Oh, things back in the "good ole" days of 2008 were so much simpler. Consider the headlines of the day brought news such as Mitt Romney winning the Maine Caucus and Ralph Nader entering the 2008 presidential campaign. The Dow was down to 12,000 from high of 14,000, while the NASDAQ vacillated around 2,500.

At the risk of sounding insensitive, let's all step back and take a deep breath for a second. Most experts agree that in 12 to 18 months, this recession will be over. Things won't go back to normal--whatever that means--but things are going to be a whole lot better than they are now, psychologically and otherwise.

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Example of Healthcare Woes in Japan

February 24th, 2009

by Christopher Cornue

This story has been around for a few weeks, but in case you haven't seen it: take a look at this incredible story with horrifying examples included. Let's keep these examples in mind when we're talking about our own issues stateside.

Right-brained cost cutting

February 9th, 2009

by Nick Jacobs

Last week it was my privilege to spend a few hours with an entrepreneur who compiled every quality indicator published by all 20 organizations that list themselves as having a mission that is directed toward "healthcare quality." I can't remember if there were 20 or 30,000 of them, but it was a boatload.

The entrepreneur then had a software expert create grids and graphs and quantitative tables in relational databases that would compile all of the related indicators, cross reference them, and pull them together into the appropriate job descriptions. This system was constructed to enable employers to objectively quantify these job descriptions and thus to evaluate the employees in a more appropriate, efficient, and comprehensive manner.

All of this would lead to higher quality care, reduce costs normally created from employee turnover, and lead to a better workplace and better patient care.

=> Read more!

Live Surgery on Twitter

February 6th, 2009

by Tony Chen

Since we've blogged extensively in the past about hospitals and social media, here's a quick note: Henry Ford Hospital will be sharing a live kidney cancer surgery on Twitter on Monday.

From their PR team:

Dr. Craig Rogers will lead a surgical team from Henry Ford Hospital as they perform a robotic partial nephrectomy. The public will be able to receive updates and information from OR 25 at Henry Ford Hospital, and communicate with the surgeons via the Twitter microblogging service. Henry Ford is a teaching hospital.

Also, check out Ed Bennett's tally list of Hospitals using social networking tools. Can you believe that there's 60 hospitals on twitter already? Yes, that's only about 1 percent of the all the hospitals in the country.

=> Read more!

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