The Truven Health Blog

The latest healthcare topics from a trusted, proven, and unbiased source.

A Balanced Cost Improvement Process is Possible

By Phil Gaughan/Friday, March 7, 2014
More cost-effective monitoring in the provider business is always good, and a recent Wall Street Journal article highlights this. Sustainable improvements require thoughtful, in-depth analysis and action. Preserving value add spending versus reductions of unnecessary costs is crucial for sustained advantage. Rational consideration of the work flow process supported by external “better practice” benchmarks is crucial. Kudos to Newton-Wellesley for their balanced cost improvement process. Bottom line – their results showed $5M in savings, 15% increase in patient satisfaction and 3.4% improved internal service quality.

Phil Gaughan
Senior Director of Operational Improvement

CFOs State that Innovation is Necessary to Survive Healthcare Reform

By Phil Gaughan/Thursday, August 22, 2013
The recent HealthLeaders article, "CFO Exchange: Healthcare Reform Breeds Innovation," summarizes a recent gathering of CFOs and shares their sentiment that innovation is necessary to survive healthcare reform.

I would like to congratulate HealthLeaders and the CFOs that gathered in Colorado Springs to share innovative strategies to address current challenges. Whenever an organization is able and motivated to achieve a common mission, several critical success factors should be considered and reinforced:
  • Culture change is hard work.
  • Goals must be clearly defined and communicated.
  • Process must be linked to overall corporate goals.
  • You can't over-communicate. Information is useless data, unless it's shared.
  • You need to spend significant time on departmental manager education.
  • Managers must be held accountable for results.
  • There will be casualties.
Phil Gaughan
Senior Director of Operational Improvement

What Financial & Operational Topics Were Top-of-Mind at HFMA's ANI?

By Phil Gaughan/Tuesday, July 23, 2013
For many of us, the Healthcare Financial Management Association's (HFMA) Annual National Institute is the best meeting of the year. In addition to hearing excellent general session and breakout speakers, it’s an opportunity to visit with long-standing friends and to engage with new colleagues. It’s always impressive to hear their thoughtful opinions on current and future challenges, and this year was no different. Here’s what I heard this year in Orlando, Florida:

  • Hospitals and health systems continue to identify creative processes to address cost and productivity. But they still question whether their efforts will be sufficient, if anticipated reductions in reimbursement occur.
  • Reimbursement is key. With dismal returns on investment income and sharp declines in contributions, the emphasis on revenue cycle has never been more acute.
  • Many organizations estimate that if Medicare and Medicaid payments are reduced, additional cost reductions could be in the range of 15% - 25% of current operating expense. 
Becker's Hospital Review also spoke with 10 experts about the biggest issues impacting hospital CFOs today, and my thoughts are included there too.

Phil Gaughan
Senior Director of Operational Improvement