With the financial market meltdown, worldwide recession I say look for new mergers and closings in the hospital industry. Even though many are profitable, well at least slightly, that will go by the way side with investment income losses, higher numbers of uninsured, rising bad debt and lengthening delays in Medicaid payments from the states, the picture is bleak. Declining utilization and tighter reimbursement from managed care doesn’t help either. Oh yea, those pesky retail clinics won’t help either. I am surprised more hospitals don’t go that route, partner with their doctors and drive those babies out of their markets.
Insuring the 45 million and growing uninsured is not in the cards fore the foreseeable future, not till 2010 at the earliest. President-elect Obama has his hands full. First priority is fixing the financial system, second is the economy, and third is healthcare. Without the first two, the third never happens.
Hospitals are cutting back, but it is in marketing as always. CEOs never did understand the value of marketing and what it can do, but then why do we need to be customer focused? Part of that blame goes to marketers who are unable to prove value; focus on the fluff stuff; and not holding themselves accountable for a bottom-line result. Could be too many newsletters, ads touting services people don’t need or want and not positioning on a quality and service perspective.
Answer this…. if you can’t say in 25 words or less about how you are different from everyone else, then you are adrift in your marketplace and your key customers can’t either. But then your competitors are in the same boat and they just may be as clueless as you are. Define and differentiate before someone else does it for you...
The hospital industry is undifferentiated and it’s becoming a commodity. Focus on satisfaction- employee and patient. You won’t have satisfied patients without satisfied employees. More to follow latter on that one
By the way I am hearing some not so flattering reports about the quality of primary care in those retail clinic settings. Wrong diagnoses, medication errors and faulty in site quick tests make we wonder how soon before the government step in and regulates. More direct physician oversight, certification and training are needed to prevent someone from dying. Hasn’t happened yet but it will. It’s just a matter of time. If you have a good or bad story about the retail clinics post it up.
The company I work for is going through a major reengineering. Look for big and I mean big reductions at the coporate staff level first quarter 09. Lots of uncessary layers and they could really benefit from a dose of lean management. Probably means I will be out of a job. Oh well, here we go again, that will be the seventh time in eight years. I have the nack for finding those companies.