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Operational Strategies for Successful Outcomes in Healthcare

Inefficiencies in the Healthcare Industry

“Operational Strategies are the Key to Successful Outcomes in the Healthcare Industry” Operational Strategies are the methods companies use to reach their objectives. For the healthcare industry, this includes the administrative, financial, legal and clinical  activities that keep health systems caring for patients. There are several benefits to operational strategies. First, it allows organizations to be proactive rather than reactive  and provides a sense of direction to help employees realize the company’s vision. Next, it can increase operational efficiency by providing metrics with which to measure what is going well and what isn’t. Lastly, it can provide an increase in market share and profitability which can increase the durability of the business. While these strategies are an important component for driving efficiency in the healthcare industry, it is important not to rely solely on operational strategies for business decisions, especially when it comes to fields that require customer service and specialized solutions. If companies focus too much on metrics related to achieving operational strategies, they can fall victim to ignoring the human element of business.

Although many companies use metrics and benchmarking to measure success within their organization, patient healthcare needs are unique in many respects and require individualized approaches that operational strategies alone would not always support. Said another way, providing patient centered care is more important than quantitative metrics and benchmarks that provide a lot of data but can overlook the overall patient experience. Instead, we recommend healthcare focus on patient reported experience measures that allow patients to provide direct feedback on their care. This can drive real time improvement instead of waiting for generalized reviews and recommendations to be made. There are some disadvantages to focusing too much on metrics and benchmarking. First, there could be insufficient information to make decisions because the necessary information may not be readily available. Second, establishing standards can stifle next level performance, decreasing overall results. Next, there could be a lack of understanding of the data provided if the person analyzing the data is not familiar with the source. Last, it can create an overreliance on data which limits the provider’s talent, innovation and ingenuity. 
Focusing too much on operational strategy can drive companies to focus on competition with other businesses over patient well-being. As stated by Russell & Taylor, “The operations function helps strategy evolve by creating new and better ways of delivering a firm’s competitive priorities to the customer.” This statement highlights that operational strategies enable a firm to be competitive; however, the focus should not be on competition. Operational strategies in conjunction with a patient-centered care is a key to success in the healthcare industry. Over the past few decades, there has been an increase in the corporate presence in healthcare systems throughout the United States. This has led to a more business-oriented approach in the healthcare industry that emphasizes profitability. Attempts to control costs and increase revenue can shift the focus away from the patient, eroding the patient-physician relationship and possibly leading to poor decisions on the part of the firm. “In recent years, we have seen health care become increasingly business-oriented with more for-profit entities and private equity investments,” said Thomas G. Cooney, MD, MACP, chair, Board of Regents, ACP. “We need to be sure that profits never become more important than patient care in the practice of medicine.”
In order to remain successful in the healthcare industry, it is imperative to put the patient first. “Shifting to a consumer-centric planning approach requires a significant shift in mindset. Historically, strategic planning for hospitals and health systems has focused largely inward. These organizations must turn that focus outward—to the consumer—if they are to plan effectively for health care’s future, and to stay relevant and grow. As such, consumer insights will influence all aspects of the strategic plan, from staffing to clinical care delivery to service line planning.” (Grube & Crnkovich, 2017). In healthcare, operational strategies help improve efficiencies but patient-centric strategies lead to successful patient outcomes. 
In conclusion, operational strategies must be coupled with consumer centric strategies to reach optimal success in the healthcare industry. Consumer centric strategies would provide patient centered care, nurture the patient and physician relationship, and curate an enjoyable healthcare journey. As stated by Steve Jobs “You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work back towards the technology, not the other way around”.

Importance of Safety in Healthcare

The Debate Topic: "Operational Strategies are the Key to Successful outcomes in the Healthcare Industry." Team 4: (PRO) – Read the post. (DO Not comment on this post) Only respond to 2 peers post at the bottom.Operational strategies are the key to successful outcomes in the healthcare industry.  While there are many fields that allow for a relatively large margin for error, healthcare is not one of them.  Jasmine Lee said it best in her article when she said that, “in the health care industry, people’s lives are at stake” and having an effective operational strategy can be the difference between life and death (Lee, 2019).  There are three major sections of the healthcare industry where operational strategies have shown their importance, the first is fixing inefficiencies, second is safety, and the third is recruiting and retaining talent.
As health care costs rise exponentially in the United States, the general population is not experiencing better health outcomes. In fact, the U.S. healthcare system is the most expensive in the world. In 2018, the United States spent more than 16.9 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) on health care, nearly twice as much as any other high-income country (Tikkanen & Abrahms, 2020). Yet, Americans continue to live relatively unhealthier and shorter lives than peers in other high-income countries (Tikkanen & Abrahms, 2020). The discrepancy between costs and benefits is largely explained by operational inefficiencies in the US healthcare system. In order to contain cost and improve the quality of care, operational management strategies are necessary to ensure the success of the healthcare industry. Nearly 30% of the $3.6 trillion spent on health care costs in the United States is wasted (“Better planning,” 2020). For example, a recent study that surveyed 92 surgeries found that an average of $1,800 per surgery-nearly $28 million annually – could be saved by simply planning the supplies needed prior to surgery (“Better planning,” 2020). Instead, the study found that five to ten minutes were added to each surgery due to unplanned supplies that were needed by 
the surgeon (“Better planning,” 2020). Not only is gathering supplies during surgery fiscally inefficient, it is also dangerous. Additional time under anesthesia can lead to poor patient outcomes and is associated with higher risks. Another example of operational inefficiencies is that hospitals rarely employ evidence-based practices as their standard of care. When using evidence-based practices, providers integrate their own clinical expertise with available clinical evidence that is derived from systematic research. When patients get evidence-based care, they have 28 percent better outcomes (“Evidence-based care,” 2016). In addition, the quality of care provided improves, and health care organizations are spared the costs of trial and error. To enumerate, medical errors are estimated to cost between $17 billion and $29 billion annually in the United States (Bentley et al, 2008). Still, evidence-based practices are not commonplace in most US health organizations and would require action and training from leadership to sustain a culture of evidence-based practice (“Evidence-based care,” 2016). Finally, operational efficiency-in hospitals, specifically-is dependent upon analyzing data to make informed decisions on staffing. Hospitals have to be adequately staffed at all times, while also prepared for mass casualty events. Operational management strategies, such as econometrics, are beneficial in determining the optimal number of staff. Operations management is key to the success of the health care industry in the United States, in that access to affordable, quality health care is dependent upon managing costs and employing evidence-based practice.Operational strategies are very significant to the successful outcomes in the healthcare industry when it comes to safety.  Through the protection strategy, safety among the patients is promoted as it reduces the nosocomial. Nosocomial being the infection which is obtained while in the hospital is going to be solved through the operational strategies set.  Among the strategy set to promote safety in this area is where the healthcare professionals and patients are required to maintain cleanliness whenever they are, both in the hospital and outside to avoid bringing germs inside which they are always passed to each other (Alhashmi et al, 2020). Also, the injuries on the patients are reduced as the healthcare workers are required to carry out their tasks 
in a professional way.
Operational strategies are also very important as the occupational hazards of the health care workers are reduced. These hazards include being infected by diseases and the mental problems which they are going through. Among the strategies used to promote their safety is being provided with safety equipment including clothing that prevents them from contracting any communicable diseases. Also, the health care workers are going to be taken through psychological support in the hospital so that they can remain sober and hence promote their mental health.
Operational strategies are also beneficial in the healthcare industry as the workers are provided with protective equipment. During the COVID19 pandemic, this strategy has been widely applied in health sectors across the world. Protection equipment has not only promoted the safety of health workers but also the patients. COVID-19 pandemic and other deadly diseases which can be transmitted from one person to another are very dangerous to human life (Tran et al, 2020). Therefore, this strategy has been very important as many lives have been changed.In nearly every industry, COVID-19 has redesigned how and where people work. Hospital turnover increased by 1.7% during the past year and currently stands at 19.5% (Colosi, 2021). To ensure operational excellence, healthcare organizations must assess how to recruit and retain talent during our rapidly changing world. First, top organizations and facilities recruit the best talent due to their company culture. Hospitals and health systems identified by employees as great places to work have developed a culture that reflects the values of the workers and organization (Beckshire Hospital, 2012). Creating a culture of change is the key to attracting top talent especially with the increase of digital transformation. By having an innovation-driven organization, patients receive better healthcare resulting in attracting more talent. Secondly, having an organization that has open communication and trust is the key to retaining talent. When team members are open and honest with each other, without fear, it leads to mutual trust, collaboration, and sharing of best practices across disciplines (Kaplan, 2018). Patients are the ultimate beneficiaries. The greatest resource to healthcare facilities are their employees, which is why it is essential to attract and retain skilled employees. By recruiting and retaining talent, healthcare organizations can achieve operational excellence thus creating a competitive advantage with other healthcare organizations.The healthcare industry is one that leaves little margin for error, and one of the major tools that can be used to improve outcomes is an effective operational strategy.  
Without an effective strategy there is going to be increased inefficiency in the system leading to increased wait times, issues being missed or ignored, and a decrease in overall positive outcomes.  Additionally, safety is going to lag as patients and employees do not have proper guidance on things like personal protective equipment and fall prevention, this can lead to both patients and employees being harmed.  Finally, a lack of an effective operational strategy can lead to staffing difficulties both when it comes to hiring and retaining staff.  Increased turnover leads to a less trained staff, understaffed clinics and hospitals, and an increase in negative outcomes.Please respond to Jennifer A. – (Respond with 50 words)
Hi Team Four,
You guys did a great job.  I like everyone else had no idea that on average each individual spends over $11,000.  Making this much worse I did not realize that over $2500 of this is waste.  I agree with your stance that operations are important in the healthcare field.  One of the points that stood out to me was how you talked about safety. With ALL of the many things that workers can be exposed to, this aspect of healthcare needs to be operation-focused and heavily monitored.  This was a great point to talk about.  Great Job!!

Please respond to Lyn W. – (Respond with 50 words)
Team Four,
You did a great job incorporated relevant situations and current events in your presentation. I feel that a highly effective organizational strategies directly impact positive outcomes in any industry but absolutely in the healthcare industry. With the pandemic, healthcare organizations had to drastically reshape some of their operational strategies to ensure safety and effectiveness within. Moving forward and seeing how turnover has increased in this industry as a result of the pandemic, I would say that those organizations who made abrupt changes and remained flexible to their strategies likely had better responses to the demands.

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