After a tumultuous 2020, healthcare organizations are eager to stabilize, recover, and grow … but how? Continuous improvement is critical for financial health, but many don’t understand how to plan for unknowns, wondering: As the country recovers from the pandemic, where will the market land? Will healthcare volumes bounce back to pre-pandemic levels, or are fundamental changes here to stay?

Healthcare experts and consultants are working to answer these questions using their knowledge of current market conditions. However, delivering additional value to healthcare stakeholders and providing unique insights that others lack is increasingly difficult without timely data and details about hospital performance. Real-time, actionable data empowers healthcare experts and consultants to identify market opportunities and advise accordingly.

To leverage data-driven insights while developing organizational transformation strategies, look for data with these three key qualities:

 

#1 — Real-Time Benchmark Data Designed to Inform Decision-Making

Timely access to robust comparative data is essential, especially when healthcare finance leaders cite the pressure to improve profitability as a top challenge in 2021. Using data that is 6-12 months old simply won’t cut it in today’s rapidly changing market.

Data should be captured monthly from both internal and external sources and should compare financial and operational performance with peers. Any time lag or barriers to viewing peer benchmark data makes 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 — 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 implement meaningful change.

Additionally, the ability to drill into data — such as at the department or job code level — to identify the root cause and develop a targeted performance improvement strategy is critical to targeted financial growth — there is no one-size-fits-all approach.

 

#3 — Easy to Leverage Better-Performing Peers as the Target for Incremental Improvement

Healthcare leaders need to know if they are pacing ahead of or behind the market. For example, suppose market data shows that Emergency Departments across the country have recovered by 15% over the past three months, but a specific client has only recovered by 5%. In that case, that organization needs to understand why and how to quickly get to the bottom of it.

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 impact. Then, easily set goals for incremental improvement using better-performing peers as the target. 

 

Insights in Action: Identifying and Evaluating the ‘New Normal’

As the pandemic intensified in early 2020, hospitals across the country saw wild swings in nearly every service line and department. Looking at the Emergency Department (ED) volume and revenue data, it’s easy to see they had a roller coaster of a year.

ED revenue and visits took a hard hit in the first quarter of 2020 before reaching a new low in April. Since the second half of 2020, both metrics have stabilized somewhat, but have not yet caught up to pre-pandemic levels. Is this a permanent change that finance and department leaders should expect going forward? Or will EDs bounce back to 2019 levels?

Emergency Department w/o Transport: Revenue and Volume

 

On the expense side of the ED, there is a similar but inverted trend. After reaching a peak in April 2020, then decreasing through early summer, expense per visit appears fundamentally changed. Is this new plateau a permanent reality of how the COVID-19 pandemic has changed ED operations across the country?

Emergency Department w/o Transport: Total Expense

 

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 previous month.

Syntellis Market Insights empowers continuous improvement investigation and conversations by bringing together data monthly from more than 1,000 hospitals, 125,000 physicians, and non-acute facilities nationwide to give you the most objective and current view into the evolving healthcare market 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.