With many unknowns on the horizon for U.S. healthcare and ongoing reform, hospitals and healthcare providers are in the difficult position of having to address hospital hiring trends as they map their course on an uncertain path to deliver the highest quality of care possible while remaining financially viable and competitive.
Novia Solutions recently conducted an analysis to reveal key insights into how hospitals are planning to navigate the changing healthcare landscape. Its analysis examined key market forces that are influencing the needs and priorities of U.S. hospital leaders as well as their requirements when recruiting new hospital executives.
As part of its analysis, Novia Solutions examined findings from a Health Leaders Media (HLM) survey of U.S. healthcare executives that found many hospitals and healthcare systems are electing to postpone strategic investment initiatives until the Trump Administration’s direction on healthcare becomes clearer. Specifically, half (50%) of the respondents say they are putting new major initiatives on hold, while just over 1 in 5 (21%) say they are modifying or extensively changing their plans. In sum, this means that 71% of hospitals and health systems are changing or postponing their plans. Despite already being more than halfway through 2017, the situation remains unclear and providers appear to continue to be hesitant to initiate new strategic investment initiatives.
In the meantime, the HLM survey indicated that healthcare executives are focused on achieving short-term financial targets. When asked how they plan to reach current financial targets, half (49%) of respondents plan to control costs, 39% say they will do so through care models, and 37% say they will do so through strategic partnerships.
Following are key takeaways revealed in Novia Solutions’ analysis regarding the current focus of hospital leadership and anticipated future needs for healthcare executives:
- Data analytics rank as top priority for hospitals in the coming years: According to the HLM Survey, 71% of respondents say data analytics will be the top area of investment over the next three years.
- Mergers, acquisitions and expansions (MA&E) are expected to continue at a fast pace: With hospitals needing to secure market share, control quality throughout the full care continuum, and maintain volumes in the acute setting, analysts expect to see a sustained level of MA&E activity throughout the year.
- Clinical variation consulting may be the next frontier: Clinical variation is garnering significant attention and is on the minds of healthcare executives. Reducing variation is being described as the “next frontier” of cost reduction.
- Value-based care knowledge forecasted to be in high demand: Healthcare executives are feeling the pressure of the transition from volume to value, and regardless of the new administration’s actions in healthcare, industry analysts agree that this shift will continue. With this demand, analysts forecast the rise of leaders able to focusing specifically on aiding the transition from volume to value-based care.
- Technology convergence is expected to give rise to growing expertise needs: Hospitals recognize the growing need to embrace technology and to harness its power for the betterment of their own organization and their patients. Broadly speaking, they often discover a need for subject-matter expertise post-implementation when they may realize that they haven’t optimized the technology across their organization or to its maximum potential.
- Patient-centric initiatives are accelerating: Hospitals are quickly recognizing that healthcare is becoming a consumer-driven industry. The “retail-ization” of healthcare is one result of this shift. Numerous surveys find that patients are becoming more and more willing to research more, drive farther and pay more for healthcare services than ever before. As a result, hospitals may have an increasing need for leaders who have the innovative skills needed to enhance the patient experience.
- Physician collaboration is an increasing focus: Hospitals are viewing physicians as increasingly critical to their organizations’ success and at the same time, many physicians are positioning their practices for acquisition or leaving the industry entirely. Hospitals are expanding their focus upon new initiatives to encourage physician engagement and other collaborative efforts.
To be sure, hospital leaders are facing many uncertainties when they are planning ahead, but in the short-term, they can benefit by keeping their ears to the ground to monitor the trends and market forces shaping the future of their organizations.