Three panelists weighed in on which trends are impacting profitability in an OR Business Management Conference session titled, "Trends in the OR—What's Driving Profitability?"
What is the area most affected by last year’s high inflation and supply shortages?
Staffing expenses and shortages are continuing to "put pressure on the margins of institutions," said Cindy Cannon, MBA, Executive Director, Finance, Massachusetts General Hospital. Labor costs have gone up, said Mary Anne Douglas, MSN, RN, MS, CNOR, Surgical Operations Nurse Executive Director, Intermountain Healthcare, adding that Intermountain had to make salary adjustments in order to improve staff retention. Jessica Gruendler, DNP, RN-BC, CPHQ, CNOR, Sr. Director of Nursing, Perioperative Services, Dignity Health, has also sensed discomfort among staff, adding that constant changes are frustrating and make staff weary.
What is the biggest change to operations from last year going into this year?
The biggest change seen in the healthcare seems to be the transition from inpatient to outpatient settings, noted Douglas. With this change, it is critical to profitability that there is proper coding and registration for patients depending on the patient setting, added Dr Gruendler.
What is something that changed last year and will stay the same this year? What should stay the same?
All three panelists agreed that telehealth is something that has transformed healthcare in the past year, a trend that will not and should not go away. "Telehealth has a big impact on surgical services," noted Dr Gruendler, adding that post-surgical phone calls have a great impact on preventing readmissions and therefore, limiting post-surgery complications.
How do hospitals that faced big losses last year bounce back? Does it require a change in perspective to what “growth” means? Where is the biggest opportunity for growth going into 2023?
There are market pressures that hamper the ability to grow out of these new challenges, noted Cannon, adding that it’s important to shift the focus to finding alternative streams of revenue. Douglas and Dr Gruendler concurred, emphasizing that it is important to consolidate services and find new ways to boost profitability before thinking about the concept of growth.
How do growth opportunities inform how staff should operate in 2023?
All three panelists noted the significance of involving staff in every change that happens. "You need to engage your staff," Dr Gruendler said, they need to understand that change is going to happen and should have the opportunity to offer their insights on how it should happen.