Hospital Management Emerging Trends in 2019

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Hospitals are an important part of any health system. They are complex organizations owing to a wide multiplicity of objectives and goals. Hospital personnel range from highly skilled and educated clinicians and managers to semi and unskilled employees. With innovations in technology, economic and statutory pressure and customer demands, the convolution of hospital management continues to increase. Finally, quality of patient care has confounded precise measurement.

During the last decade, common trends in developed countries has been:

  • Reduction in number of beds, without negatively impacting the number of hospital admissions
  • Shorter ALOS
  • Increase in ambulatory care
  • Adaptation to variations in their internal and external settings

Modern managerial practices and tools are yet to get inculcated in most of the healthcare institutions In India. The ones that have adapted modern managerial practices are mostly concentrated in urban areas.

Provisioning of health care is gradually shifting from Government to private sector. Owing to dynamisms of globalization, quick technological changes, growing customer anticipation, demand for high quality care and rising buying power and consciousness of certain category of clients. Add to this the growing competition, which challenges the survival of a healthcare institute. As a result, hospital administration is becoming professionalized, adopting strategic planning and management techniques to mitigate the challenges. At the end of the day, more and more patients will be the driving forces in the healthcare industry in 2019.

Healthcare executives will increasingly invest in modern technologies to enhance efficiency both for clinically driven services as well as for back-office operations or supply chain. Whilst patient experience will continue to be a priority, there will also be greater focus on employee satisfaction.

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With government pressures for price transparency there would be legislations to change current practices as a strategy to address rising healthcare costs.

With the advent of “Ayushman Bharat” there is a likelihood of more hospitals adapting care strategies and pricing to serve a larger number of patients. Though the policies and practices need to be monitored and tailored to suit both the healthcare provider and seeker, it appears to be a step in the right direction.

Governments in most countries, as in India, are feeling challenged to stay afloat as far as delivery of healthcare is concerned. Public hospitals are unable to meet the patient demands in most departments (clinical, financial, quality of care, etc.).

Some state governments are attempting to address this predicament through Public Private Partnerships (PPP), inviting private proponents to partner with them in healthcare delivery by offering them land, existing government hospitals to manage, and other concessions. Though the success of these schemes is still under the cloud, both entities will need to draft out a viable agenda where the patient is the prime beneficiary.

Hospital managements need to identify challenges and opportunities surrounding emerging trends such as big data, IoT, 3-D printing, wearable technology, accountable care, bundled payments, medical homes, population health management, robotics, mobile health, social networking and smartphones

Online and mobile platforms are already carving out their importance in engaging customers. This is a medium that has become increasingly more effective than print or broadcast advertising for reaching patients in all age segments. They will only grow more essential in 2019.

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The days of a pervasive attitude of healthcare providers towards their consumers is over. Today the client seeks care and services on their terms. They have more access and choice for their healthcare than ever before and the market is becoming more competitive where providers must continually improve the patient experience and develop customer loyalty. Improved communication and curating a more retail-focused experience could be some ways to do this.

Equally important is creating an experience that connects families with providers. India delivers approximately 1.5 million babies per month. Those are as many families with whom healthcare providers could aim to establish life-long connections.

The health sector is getting more expensive with time. It is impertinent to the leverage technology through networking. The hub and spoke system and creating satellite healthcare facilities between two / three tier cities and linking them to the tertiary care facilities in metros may help bring down costs.

……….to be continued