Hospitals, health systems, and other healthcare providers continue to grapple with a tumultuous healthcare environment due largely to heightened expense pressures and unstable volumes. Healthcare leaders nationwide are searching for viable strategies to curtail rising costs, address widespread labor shortages, and manage fluctuations in demand. Many wonder: When will inflation ease? When will volumes stabilize? Will the healthcare labor market ever truly recover?
Healthcare consultants and other industry experts are working to answer these questions using their knowledge of past trends and current market conditions. However, delivering additional value to healthcare stakeholders and providing unique insights that others lack is increasingly difficult without timely market data and analysis. Timely, actionable data better equips healthcare experts to advise their clients on the most effective strategies.
To leverage data-driven insights while developing organizational transformation strategies, look for data and analytics with these three key qualities:
#1 — Timely Benchmark Data Designed to Inform Decision-Making
Access to robust, timely comparative data is essential, especially when more than 80% of healthcare finance leaders aim to do more to leverage financial and operational data at their organizations. Using data that is 6-12 months old simply won’t cut it in today’s rapidly changing environment.
Data should be captured monthly from both internal and external sources and should compare financial and operational performance with peer organizations. Any time lag or barriers to viewing peer benchmark data make it difficult to provide context to the numbers. Monthly data empowers consultants and healthcare leaders to identify improvement opportunities and guide corrective action with near real-time precision.
#2 — An Appropriate Breadth and Depth of Data
Metrics from departments across the care continuum — including physician practices and acute and non-acute care — will support engagements impacting the full health system. This data lays the foundation to diversify your offerings, contract for larger engagements, deliver more value to clients, and help them implement meaningful change.
Additionally, the ability to drill into an organization’s data — such as at the department or job code level — is critical to identifying root causes and developing targeted performance improvement strategies to help clients build financial health. After all, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to measuring performance or identifying improvement opportunities.
#3 — Ability to Leverage Peer Data to Guide Improvements
Healthcare leaders need to know if their organizations are pacing ahead of or behind the market. For example, suppose market data shows that outpatient volumes at peer hospitals have grown 15% over the past three months, but a specific client has only grown outpatient volumes by 5% over the same period. Healthcare leaders need to understand why their organizations are behind and how to get on track with or surpass their peers.
Hospital benchmark data helps quickly identify the greatest operational and financial performance improvement opportunities so you can focus corrective strategies on the areas most likely to show the greatest impacts. Healthcare leaders then can easily set goals for incremental improvement using better-performing peers as the target.
Insights in Action: Identifying and Evaluating the "New Normal"
Hospitals continue to experience significant swings in performance across key service lines and departments in the post-pandemic era. A look at national trends in Emergency Department (ED) volumes and revenues illustrates the roller coaster that hospitals and health systems have been on in recent years.
For example, ED revenues and visits took a hit following the COVID-19 Omicron surge in early 2022. After February’s lows, both metrics increased somewhat, but continue to fluctuate month to month. Should finance and department leaders expect this kind of volatility to persist going forward?
On the expense side of the ED, there is a similar but inverted trend. After reaching a peak in February 2022, expense per visit declined as volumes went up. Are these kind of performance swings a permanent reality now for ED operations nationwide?
This level of analysis is made possible by data from Syntellis Market Insights, which delivers timely, robust benchmark data and provides context to what’s happening in the healthcare market as recently as the prior month.
Syntellis Market Insights empowers continuous improvement investigation and conversations. We collate data monthly from more than 1,000 hospitals, 135,000 physicians, and non-acute facilities nationwide to give you the most objective and current view into the evolving healthcare landscape. Leveraging these insights, you can accurately compare a hospital, health system, or physician practice’s performance to peer organizations, set improvement targets, guide organizational change, and evaluate the success of organizational transformation action plans.
Contact us to learn more.