Here are my top 5 New Year’s resolutions for health care providers:
Focus more of your marketing budget on improving your organization’s brand. What you stand for and how consumers think about you will impact your marketability more than knowledge of your presence or what you do in a market ever will. Spend more on developing and promoting the image you want of your organization, not what your organization offers, where it is located, or what awards and recognition it has received.
Manage your revenue cycle; don’t let it manage you. Commercial and government payers are doing more selective contracting and intensifying their payment claw-back practices. Stay ahead of these efforts, or, at the very least, keep up with them. And watch the aging of your receivables like you would a newborn just brought home from the hospital.
Go lean. Get rid of all bottlenecks and non-productive business practices. Make process improvement a priority. A good goal to start with for all through-put and back-office functions is to halve all processing cycle times or justify why they can’t be cut in half. And plan to revisit that justification every six months until the goal is met. Get help with this if necessary, but do it… like yesterday.
Make anyone in your organization who tells you that something can’t be changed because it’s required by The Joint Commission or state licensing prove it. Your subordinate managers know that they know more than you about their functional areas of responsibilities, so many do and will resist your change inquiries and initiatives by telling you that the way something is done is required by some regulation or regulatory agency. Often times that just simply is not true.
Assess and reduce the level of distrust in your organization. A strong, direct correlation between the level of distrust and dysfunction exists in every organization, so treat distrust like you would an aggressive form of cancer. It may cost you some time and money to assess, but like the 5-year colonoscopy for people over the age of 50, it is the best way to find and deal with problems at an early stage of development.
BONUS: Using return on assets as its leading measure of success, researchers analyzed 45 years of data concerning more than 25,000 firms. A key finding was that exceptional business performance depends on adherence to the following three decision rules. Rule 1: Better before cheaper. Rule 2: Revenue before cost. Rule 3: There are no other rules. (Michael E. Raynor and Mumtaz Ahmed)