Issues in the healthcare system are usually approached from the patient’s perspective, with consumer-facing issues, such as access to care and physician fees, getting the most attention. The struggles and challenges unique to hospitals often get overlooked in this patient-centric view.
As vital healthcare providers, hospitals are integral to the communities they serve. We rely on them for medical attention that runs the gamut from treating emergencies and delivering our children to being active in our communities through a variety of health initiatives and educational events. For this reason, on some level, the most important issues in hospital management should concern us all.
Top Issues for Hospital Management
Every year, the American College of Healthcare Executives conducts a survey of top hospital executives to help identify the most pressing issues facing hospitals. The 2015 study revealed two main areas of concern: financial challenges and patient care. ACHE President and CEO Deborah J. Bowen noted that “While financial challenges remain the top concern for CEOs, survey results suggest that senior leaders still have their eye on their organization’s financial strategy, and they are also making strides in moving forward with patient safety and quality initiatives.”
The number one issue confronting hospitals is economic challenges. For the most part, hospital management faces financial concerns surrounding the transition from volume to value payment models. Managing Medicaid reimbursements constitutes another substantial economic challenge. The survey also reports steadily increasing costs and bad debt as serious economic issues, with costs relating to supplies, staff and hospital operations.
Patient safety and quality of care are the second-biggest concerns of senior hospital officials. Patient issues fall into three main areas: engaging doctors in helping improve the hospital’s culture of quality and safety, reducing unnecessary medical tests and procedures, and developing new approaches to care processes. Increasing overall patient satisfaction is also an area of concern for hospitals.
Government mandates are another core struggle for senior hospital staff. Policies and laws surrounding healthcare and medical services can be quite complicated and are constantly changing. Some of the issues mentioned in the survey include the ICD-10 implementation (International Classification of Diseases, Revision 10), as well as new regulations and audits by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
The survey also found that one of the newest-yet-most-crucial struggles facing hospital management today is personnel shortages. Bowen noted that “The rise in rank of personnel shortages as a top concern for hospital CEOs — from 10th last year to fourth this year — is noteworthy, indicating organizations are also concerned about recruiting and retaining the right talent.” Furthermore, as hospitals move from volume to value payment methods, hiring and retaining top-notch staff will become even more important as healthcare providers will need to demonstrate they are staffed up to provide quality care.
With the multifaceted and complex concerns facing hospitals, finding qualified hospital management executives is now more important than ever.
The Right Educational Foundation
Helping mitigate the issues confronting hospitals will be a key responsibility for potential leaders in hospital administration. Fortunately, while the dilemmas affecting hospitals may seem insurmountable, they are indeed manageable with the right training.
An online MBA program with a concentration in healthcare administration is one of the best ways to ensure that future executives can tackle the challenges facing hospital management. Some educational institutions, like Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, offer an online MBA program in healthcare administration to equip students with the skills to tackle the major issues facing hospitals today. Additionally, because Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi offers an online MBA program, working professionals can balance their studies with their existing personal and professional lives.
The right education can ensure that future healthcare leaders successfully meet the sophisticated and constantly evolving challenges that hospitals will continue to face into the future.
Learn more about the TAMUCC online MBA in Healthcare Administration program.