How to Choose a Healthcare Consulting Company

If you’re a healthcare professional, or involved with running a hospital or doctor’s surgery, then perhaps you’re looking for ways to improve the service you offer to your patients, or want to make your staff and other resources more efficient. Why not see how healthcare consulting could help?

Here’s what you need to know when choosing a Healthcare consulting company.

1. You might have already identified the symptoms that are preventing you from offering a better level of patient care, or your staff being as effective as possible. Perhaps you have too many staff on, or there are not enough appointments available, or people are waiting too long to be seen in Accident and Emergency

2. Healthcare consultants will help to identify the cause of the problems, so that you can begin to think about solving them. Some problems might be simple to resolve, whilst others might involve a complete change of working practice, and introducing new technology. Are what they suggesting practical and will they work in your environment?

3. The healthcare consultants you use will need to be as devoted to patient care as you are. If they don’t seem to understand your requirements, or how you operate, or what your problems are and how they affect patients, then how can they hope to resolve them?

4. It’s essential that you choose healthcare experts, who know that streamlining healthcare isn’t the same as in other industries, and who understand what’s involved and the implications of getting it wrong. If they’re accountants more used to streamlining factories, then they’re more likely to be interested in saving money, rather than having your patients’ best interests at heart.

5. Consultants that have worked with other Healthcare services or hospitals will be able to use their experience to help identify what you need, and how to implement it. If they only have the theory, and not the the practice, you won’t want to be their first healthcare client.

6. You’ll want to make sure that the healthcare consulting company have actual clinical expertise of working in a hospital, GP or dental surgery so that they can suggest ideas that will actually work in a real healthcare environment, such as a ward, or busy waiting room not just on paper.

7. As there might be a lot involved, everybody involved will need to be kept informed of the changes, and so communication will be hugely important. What sort of help will you get from the healthcare consulting company? Will you be expected to manage everything, and run a hospital?

8. You’ll want to ensure that the solutions will solve your problems and make things better for your patients and staff, and not just a one size fits all approach that’s used for every company in all industries.

9. You’ll want to know that the solutions use proven methods, and industry best practice. Why not find out where else they have been used? Which other hospitals or surgeries had the same sort of problem, and are now using the suggested solution?

10. You’ll want to make sure that the healthcare consultants will help you to operate a better and more efficient working environment, so that you spend less time on administration, or trying to work around problems, and more time actually treating patients.

Now you know how they can help, and the benefits they bring, how will healthcare consulting improve your patient experience?

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The Perfect Storm in the Looming Healthcare Human Capital Crisis

Just as our country has endured an unprecedented economic crisis in the past 24 months, the United States will soon be in an unprecedented healthcare HUMAN CAPITAL crisis that will catch many off guard, just as the economic crisis of 2008 did for so many. There are several factors for this with Healthcare reform setting the stage for the “perfect storm” as the first of the “baby boomers” turns 65 in 2011. Just as government run Fannie and Freddie Mac helped fuel the economic crisis of 2008 – the current environment is ripe for a healthcare human capital crisis. It is no question that reform in healthcare is needed. What type of reform is the ultimate question. In their book, Redefining Health Care, the authors point out the following; “Health care is on a collision course with patient needs and economic reality. In today’s dysfunctional health care competition, players strive not to create value for patients but to capture more revenue, shift costs, and restrict services. To reform health care, we must reform the nature of competition itself.”

The Institute of Medicine in their 2008 report Retooling for an Aging America clearly leads the way when it comes to understanding the significant impact of the aging population which has not been seen before in our history. Here are the facts from the IOM report 2008.

1. Between now and 2030 the number of adults aged 65 or over will double. This dramatic shift will place unseen and accelerating demands on the US healthcare system. The sheer number of older patients will overwhelm the number of physicians and other healthcare professionals unless something is done.
2. Beginning in 2011 – the 1st wave of the baby boom generation will begin to turn 65 – the 78 million baby boomers will tip the population scale growing from 12 to 20% by 2030.
3. Older Americans will consume much more healthcare and this is not built into the $900 billion Healthcare reform estimate. The current 12% of older Americans currently accounts for 26% of all physician visits – by growing to 20% – older Americans will account for more than 50% of healthcare utilization just as these reforms start to take affect.

The recommendations laid out by the IOM report are essential in healthcare reform – but have not been addressed in the current healthcare model. Other demographic factors are at play, such as, the aging healthcare workforce. Leaders in healthcare human capital retention understand that we are in the “eye of the storm” with a false sense of security with the impending wave of baby boomers, the backlog of new grads, and the eventual retirement of veteran nurses. This is especially true in the competition for quality licensed healthcare professionals who drive the revenue and deliver the highest quality in patient care. The reality is that the demand for healthcare is going up and the supply of available licensed professionals is going down. This demand cycle will be good for professionals who will see significant growth in salaries and perks, but it will be a challenge for healthcare organizations wanting to attract and retain their people with the aging population and workforce – added with the new demands of Healthcare reform.

The “true cost” of the current healthcare reform can not be calculated – needless to say it will be a number that makes the Wall Street bailout seem insignificant. Healthcare reform is certainly needed – we are on a “collision course” with both the demographic and economic reality. The type and degree of reform needs to have all healthcare leaders involved in the debate as reform is being constructed like a makeshift life boat as the storm clouds appear on the horizon.

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