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What Kind of Business Is Healthcare – Marketing to the Future? – Healthcare

If health care is a business, why as an industry are there so many organic problems? Could these organic problems be as simple as there are too many people making decisions and there is no clear vision for the future of the industry?Have you ever had the opportunity to go to a healthcare conference? There are many people teaching us about best practices, quality improvement, clinical pathways, and customer satisfaction, but who is in charge and who can make these changes?The reality is that there is no one playing nice in the sandbox. Remember when a child was told by the mom please share the shovel and pail when at the playground with the other children? As adults, we need to share or at least come to some common ground. The reality is that hospital administrators are constantly “negotiating” in their communications; with the physicians, and with CMS and other state and local regulators, and of course, labor unions, and their own management team. The understanding needs to be that all of these elements are a TEAM and we need each other to be successful.Close your eyes and “pretend” that you are a Marketing Manager in a fortune 500 company and need to attract customers and grow profits. We start with the definition of business marketing, which is to identify with meeting human and social needs, or another definition for business marketing is to meet the needs of profitability. What is the marketing strategy of healthcare? We have all taken company surveys for example; a new car, a restaurant, a computer, and so on. The goal of most companies is to try to achieve perfect scores. Perfection is the goal and achieving a four out of five is not good enough for most organizations. In healthcare, the logic is to use the mean score as a benchmark, which makes the mean the acceptable score in many facilities. The logic is then that the facility is hitting the norm and there are no critical issues necessitating making changes.All companies have a product to sell and all companies have challengers. The differences in healthcare are that that focus needs to be on creating ownership and until the system realizes someone needs to be in charge there will be conflicts and inferior service.The following statistics were part of a study conducted by the Commonwealth Fund and recently published in the online version of the Health Affairs journal:• The number of people who are underinsured has grown 60% to 25 million over the past four years.
• The fastest growing segment of the underinsured is middle and upper income families. The rate of underinsured for those with incomes of $40,000 or more nearly tripled to 11%.
• The highest rate of underinsurance is in families with incomes under the poverty level (about $20,000), at 31%.Based on the national average in 2008 the average cost for health care per person was $8,000 with employers paying on average $4,479 (Easey, 2, 2011).Using these statistics, if healthcare was a for-profit business how would the organization try to capture these opportunities. Marketing is about meeting the needs of the customer and until we start asking the customer what he or she wants and needs, we will not be able to formulate a competitive business strategy.There needs to be a fresh approach and creation of a culture that believes and lives the vision of the healthcare business. In many circumstances, the vision is not clear and until we live the vision at all levels within healthcare we will continue to have problems. We need to get back to basics and business fundamentals.The business model starts with how we address our consumer. If we all started calling the consumer a customer instead of a patient or resident that would be a start. Thinking as owners will allow us to focus on the needs of the customer and then apply marketing strategies that will lead the way in a new approach and will set the path for improvement.Customers respond not only to the product but also to how he or she is being treated, the follow up to treatment, and consistency. Programs need to be regimented with defined results, with service recovery techniques that correct the problem. The solution is having a no tolerance policy that is supportive of good behavior, but not to be punitive. Focusing on why these changes are necessary for our mission, along with showing that these changes will bring success and profits is a start in a culture change path. A multi-disciplined approach is required to serve customers in any business. Someone must “own” the customer’s needs and follow up proactively. Whether it is the Food and Nutrition department, Nursing, or Security, using the most prominent customer “ownership” focused strategies is paramount in leading the way to great customer service results. Building on success stories, recognition, and rewards around hospitality is also required for this needed cultural change.Marketing strategy, organizational culture, and customer satisfaction are the basic building blocks to successful businesses. Customer satisfaction is not a task; it is a state of mind. Every health care encounter these days, as a customer, reminds us we that are accepting this inferior business model. How we got here is not as important, as how we find our way back on to the path of successful healthcare business leadership.

How Do Nurses Fit Into The Healthcare System – Healthcare

Do you think that 5 years or perhaps 20 years from now the demand for nurses in the country will be the same? Looking back in the year 2011 the demand of nurses in our country has been very high that our own country has to outsource foreign nurses. However, as technology and drugs evolved so does the need of nurses. Perhaps 20 years from now our health care system will never need too many nurses as we do today. There will come a time when the roles and the functions of a nurse will be done by robots, machines or health gadgets. These scientific breakthroughs will replace human work of a nurse. There is even a talk of having smartbeds that are able to monitor the blood pressure, heart beat and other important information of the patient, another in-the-making medical technology is a gadget that will automatically dispense appropriate medicine for the patient.The fact that our country is short of qualified nurses the government and the healthcare industry are doing its best to meet the country’s demands. They have come to think that outsourcing nurses from other countries would be the answer. But, with the population’s awareness of the perks and benefits of being a nurse, there is a growing number of citizens studying to be professional nurses. Being able to meet the country’s high demand of nurses will be beneficial for all. Firstly, we all know that the nurses are super stressed out considering that they have to work hard because of the fact that hospitals and other healthcare facilities lack RNs, however, if the numbers of nurses needed are met it would mean that RNs have more time to relax and to rest.Once these smartbeds and other medical healthcare gadgets are introduced into the market and are utilized in the healthcare facilities, more people will definitely be attracted to work in this kind of profession knowing that the RNs are not overworked. If the time will come when no more RNs are needed in the healthcare facilities, the job opportunity of teaching in colleges and universities both online and in local communities will be given importance which simply means that RNs will never have a hard time finding a job.If you are hard working, caring and understanding you can definitely be an RN in less than 2 years. It may sound impossible to obtain a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in less than 2 years but with the advent of technology it is now possible to finish a degree in nursing in 2 years or less. How? You can enroll in online nursing degree, there are countless well known universities and colleges that offer online nursing degrees and these degrees can be finished in less than 2-3 years depending on several factors.Before you enroll to a nursing online degree program you have t o be evaluate yourself if this is really the kind of job that you want to take up. Once enrolled, there is no turning back.

Why We in Healthcare Need to Innovate – Healthcare

Innovation, according to Wikipedia.com is the application of new solutions that meet new requirements, inarticulate needs, or existing market needs. This is accomplished through more effective products, processes, services or technologies or business models.In healthcare, we are often best at the introduction of innovative products (new drugs, adaptive devices) or technology (robotics, medication delivery systems, medical records). Healthcare is less prolific in the introduction of new services (adoption of evidenced based care, preventative services) and least attention is often paid to innovation in processes (improving billing, throughput in admissions, hiring) or business models (integrated cross continuum systems, different payment systems).Innovation is closely linked to change. Many of us are adverse to change. We avoid change because we fear what is ahead, we avoid change because many feel it must mean they are doing something wrong, and some avoid change because they don’t know which way to go. In healthcare, there is so much externally applied change it often feels best just to plow ahead reacting to the things imposed on us.This leaves us on the treadmill always battling to stay ahead and looking to costs to save us. Employee morale, poor quality and low levels of engagement exist as the status quo in healthcare.Those who embrace innovation often gain significant advantage in their fields. According to R.C. Cooper and S.J. Edgett, in Lean, Rapid and Profitable New Product Development, top innovators across industries produce 5 times greater output with same investment, 12 times greater productivity, and 30% of current sales come from new products released within the last 3 years. Industryweek.com did a study about the effects of innovation on a company and they found that, overall revenue growth (78%), customer satisfaction (76%), growth in revenue from new products or services (74%), increased productivity (71%), and earnings/profit margins (68%) – were a result of the impact of innovation efforts.The challenge is to provide access, quality, security and equity to health and health care in a cost effective. All the data that leads us to understand that innovation is one path to long term company or organizational sustainability. Why don’t more peruse it?In our experience in healthcare, we know that it starts simply with a lack of knowledge of the value of health care innovation. Next there is poor understanding of the key components to innovation and finally the ability to implement and follow through with the innovation initiates as their time is taken up elsewhere.The key components of innovation are setting the culture and having a structured process to identify the change and manage it.Set a culture for innovation and do it consistently. Intentionally, develop this skill in all managers in the organization. Encourage “intelligent failure”. Manage projects in a way that will allow your employees to grow from them. Plan them carefully, keep them modest, (or of short duration or intensity), review routinely, and define your assumptions. Failure is crucial to the process of organizational learning and a key to growth and innovation. Failures show you where your assumptions are wrong. Failures demonstrate where you should not go in the immediate future. Failures open the door to insights that lead to your innovation. Learn the characteristics of what did and did not work. Find new eyes to look at the same process, and “fail fast”. Make sure you are not punishing those who try but fail IN ANY WAY. Even a disapproving glance will halt innovation in its tracks when it is first getting rolling.Second, implement a process that manages innovation from the idea to launch. One we have seen work includes phases of idea generation, preliminary investigation, business case development, testing and validation. After each phase, filters are put in place to test strategic fit, product and competitive advantage, market attractiveness, technical feasibility, alignment with the core competencies, and financial reward versus risk. If it passes all filters, it moves on to the next phase. If it does not, it is killed. This process keeps things focused and allows only those ideas that are most closely aligned with the company’s strategy to move forward to the later and more costly phases. The most successful organizations start with an area they have previously identified as one that has high potential value and employees that are excited about it.To begin to make the changes that will support innovation in your healthcare organization, start with these steps: If you have not already taken an assessment that will allow you to understand your behavior’s impact on your company’s success and innovation, we suggest you take one. Innovation must start at the top of organizations or divisions.
Assess the strengths of your leadership team and their willingness and ability to identify, and manage change, and set a culture for innovation.
Develop and train managers where needed.
Implement a system for managing innovation as outlined above.
Identify champions and high potential areas.
Mange and run the first innovation process.
Celebrate the teams successThere are a number of profiles on the market that will allow you to measure your capacities relative to setting a culture for innovation. We have used many of them and have identified and recommend one that is particularly relevant to organizations trying in increase their company’s growth and sustainability through innovation.If you are an organizational leader and you are interested in behaviors that will help support your company’s success through innovation, click here to take a free copy of the profile that we most recommend.

Amazing Healthcare Carts Selection – Healthcare

Healthcare carts are one of the wonders you will experience when you enter the hospital or any other large healthcare facility after a long time. When you are in charge of purchasing one or more of the healthcare carts, then you know that they are many, many different types of healthcare carts. We will present an overview of the healthcare carts selection here, and make it easy for you to understand why such diversity is necessary.Why are there so many types of hospital carts (hospital trolleys)?A hospital cart is a piece of hospital furniture, typically equipped with multiple drawers, with space for multiple attachments, and always on wheels or casters. Why are there so many different types? The reason is two fold. First, the medicine has made a huge progress over the past hundred years, especially when it comes to incorporating the achievements of science, and technology into devices that are designed to measure, and intervene in the processes happening inside the human body.The huge progress made has resulted in a large number of devices that medical doctors of various specialties use on a daily basis, be it for surgeries, for drug administration, or even in life threatening situations such as inside emergency rooms, intensive care units, or inside recovery rooms.Finally, to use the plethora of new devices effectively, ergonomic hospital carts must be designed to host such medical devices, their supplies, and any accessories. Furthermore, a hospital cart must make these devices, supplies and accessories ergonomic for the doctor to use, and often at a moment’s notice. Sometimes, in a life threatening emergency. Therefore, a specialized, ergonomic design of a hospital cart becomes of utmost importance for the success of the operation, or the procedure. Of course, often times, the patient’s comfort is important just as well.Such diverse requirements for hospital carts require a large number of hospital cart types.What are some of the hospital cart typesHere is a list of the hospital cart types that you will find in any larger hospital or medical center:Emergency crash cart: These are used in emergency rooms, ICUs, for the purpose of resuscitation of a person, either from a cardiac arrest, from a suffocation, or drug overdose. They come in adult and pediatric varieties. They house an AED, automatic electronic defibrillator for heart arrest patients, instruments and tubes for restoration of breathing pathways, as well as a large number of life-saving drugs.Anesthesia cart: Used by anesthesiologists during operations, the anesthesia carts host the supplies needed for gas machines, or anesthesia machines, which are usually located right next to the anesthesia cart. Likewise, an anesthesia cart will host multiple drugs and supplies to support the work of an anesthesiologist.Medicine cart: These are specialized on hosting multiple prescription drugs for multiple patients. They have room for several “punch cards”, each of the punch cards containing specially prepared groups of medications for individual patients, for their use during the day. Medicine carts must promote good organization so the potent drugs are always administered on time.Specialty treatment carts: Just as there are many surgical specialists, so there are many different specialty treatment carts. You will find in large hospitals, surgery carts, malignant hyperthermia carts, and many more.Isolation carts: Especially in large hospitals, where there are multiple patients with a variety of conditions and diseases, it becomes important that the germs are not transported from one patient to another, making the situation worse for everyone. It was found that a major source of cross-contamination were medication carts transported from a hospital room to a hospital room. Therefore, isolation carts were invented. These are no different from medicine carts but are painted with anti-microbial paint to kill germs.Mobile instrument carts and laboratory carts: These carts are used near lab benches to accommodate the needs of the laboratory staff. Be it for blood tests, MRI tests, ECG tests, ultrasound tests, or similar, instrument carts and laboratory carts have specific requirements depending on the laboratory they are in. For instance, in MRI labs, the carts that are allowed to be used there must have special material properties not to interfere (or be influenced by) strong magnetic fields inside a MRI lab, and neither to be influenced by or influence the radio waves that are produced in the MRI equipment.Transport carts and transfer carts: Perhaps the most mundane of the healthcare carts, the transport carts, or transfer carts are nonetheless essential for the well being of the patient. Hospital linen carts are used for exchanging the bed linens, and rolling food carts are used to deliver meals directly to a hospital bed. Rolling laundry carts and rolling storage carts are used for delivery of personal items to the patient.