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Hospitals in Transition

Hospital executives have to learn to reduce healthcare costs while improving healthcare outcomes because the measure of their success will be defined by the latter in the years to come. That's according to a recent study of more than 300 hospital executives across the country.

The four-month study that ended in January, 2017, was conducted by Willow Research and concluded that the "seismic shift in healthcare" includes the fact that individual patients are becoming the single largest paying group as deductibles increase in health plans. At the same time, the study also found that fewer than one in five hospital executives are very satisfied with their billing and collection procedures.

The study also reported that hospitals are changing from fee-for-service models to value-based care as regulations change. "In other words, they are beginning to work from a model that makes a hospital's financial health dependent on how well it can keep patients healthy and out of its beds," the study found. This change "requires creativity and realignment of their traditional approach to healthcare delivery."

With 21 hospitals closing in 2016 and five more in the first two months of 2017, "hospitals are transforming their organizations from relatively simple, independent healthcare institutions to more complex integrated systems that include physician practices, specialty providers, urgent care clinics, partnerships with technology companies, and even integrated delivery networks that combine the payer and provider within a single organization."

One clear signal of this changing patient experience is evident in new mobile apps and what is called telehealth, a new offering necessary for immediate diagnoses and consultations, virtual office visits and expanding patient access to specialists particularly in rural areas where such physicians may be unreachable. Integrating physician practices and adding urgent care centers also is high on the priority list of hospital executives, according to the study.

To read more about how hospitals are learning to become more flexible and willing to address issues like healthcare costs, go to: http://willowresearch.com/hospitals-in-transformation/

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