Execs with tunnel vision not concerned about post-reform strategies

Although hospital and health system HR executives expect significant changes to their operations because of healthcare reform, they aren't implementing strategies to address them, according to a survey from global professional services company Towers Watson.

With "a perfect storm of forces" hitting the hospital industry, hospitals are trying to operate under a business-as-usual approach with new models of healthcare delivery, the survey found.

Expecting reform to speed up industry's transformation, 67 percent of executives said the law will negatively affect their organizations.

But despite the anticipated changes, most execs will focus on traditional business challenges for the next few years, with 73 percent citing managing costs and 56 percent citing improving quality of care.

Most execs expressed little concern about new strategies needed in the post-reform environment, according to the report. For instance, only 18 percent saw collaborating with local providers on community health and wellness services as important.

Keeping in line with the industry's increased focus on patient satisfaction, 90 percent said customer service will become a strong competitive differentiator going forward.

"Industry executives have no illusions about the extent and magnitude of the forthcoming change," Towers Watson Senior Consultant Heidi Toppel said in a press release. "But the scope and complexity can be daunting, especially since hospitals have to rethink and refine core business and operating processes while continuing to deliver quality care to the communities they serve," she said.

For more information:
- read the press release
- here's the report (.pdf)