3 top issues hospitals will face in 2013

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With implementation of the health reform law coming this year, hospitals are most concerned about the changes it will bring. According to a PwC Health Research Institute report released today, hospitals and other healthcare organizations will see a mix of budgetary pressures, consumerism and technology. Described as a quicken pace on health reform, the top issues hospitals will see this year include the following:

1. ACA implementation and cost reduction
While states decide on Medicaid expansion and health exchanges, hospitals across the country will continue to redesign care delivery with an eye on cost savings. The much touted triple aim includes cost efficiency as one of the major initiatives of the health reform law.

Healthcare organizations also must consider the most appropriate venue for care, while paying attention to patient costs. PwC recommends first managing nonpatient care areas and assessing management layers for cost reduction.

2. Need for mobile security
More than a quarter of consumers report their caregivers use email or texts to communicate with them, but many hospitals don't have a secure environment to protect patient information. Only 46 percent of hospitals have a security strategy to regulate the use of mobile devices. Hospitals should heed cautions from recent data breaches and implement policies regarding employees who bring their own devices to work.

3. P4P and customer satisfaction
Under the Hospital Value-based Purchasing Program that went into effect in October, providers will shift from volume to value. The federal healthcare programs could hold back as much as $850 million, that is, 1 percent of total reimbursement, in 2013, PwC noted.

In addition, patient satisfaction influences reimbursement. The report recommends moving beyond simple patient surveys and establishing a well-integrated consumer program that aligns customer service with business goals, such as establishing a chief experience officer. One in 10 hospitals has a leader responsible for the customer experience.

For more information:
- here's the announcement
- see the report (.pdf) from PwC (registration required)

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