Kaufman Hall chair: Hospitals must reduce costs in 2016

The head of one of the nation's foremost healthcare consulting firms has a list of tasks hospitals should accomplish in 2016.

Many healthcare organizations still appear to be firmly wedded to traditional fee-for-service payments. But Ken Kaufman, chairman of Kaufman Hall, Associates said in Hospitals & Health Networks said that hospitals need to adapt to the changing value-based payment system. "Most hospitals are likely to need some kind of partners to achieve these capabilities, introducing yet another change to be managed," he wrote. 

Hospitals also must focus on cost reduction, even though most hospital executives he encounters appear reluctant to do so. "Some sidestep the issue of labor costs, concerned about the effect on staff morale," Kaufman wrote. "Some are reluctant to even address the topic of cost with staff, concerned about seeming to undercut the focus on quality." However, cutting costs go hand-in-hand with value-based healthcare delivery.

Kaufman also said that hospitals must take steps to improve patient engagement and enhancing their levels of satisfaction with the care they receive. Hospitals have many challenges on this front. Although there is a consensus that nurses need to have more empathy in order to better engage with patients, training them to display that empathy can be a difficult process at best.

Along with empathy, many providers also must be retrained in order to engage in shared decision-making with patients, which would include eliciting their goals for the care they receive.

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