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Keynote: Financial management and high velocity healthcare

Healthcare-08.jpgI provided the opening keynote yesterday for over 275 CFO’s of the Ontario Hospital Association. Collectively, they manage over $15 billion in spending.

My topic was Innovating for Our Future Health: The Strategic Role of Financial Leadership in our Hospitals. The subtext: “A look at the new strategic role that financial professionals must play as health care comes to dominate overall GDP spending. Innovation is no longer just a fashionable phrase — it’s the new leadership focus for executives in the health care sector“.

Every keynote carries one core theme, and the message of the day was: “as high velocity change envelopes the health care sector, you must transition from a tactical to a strategic role, to provide the analysis, insight, reporting, decision support tools and financial infrastructure that can help hospital leadership make ever more complex decisions.”

A few of the key themes that we explored:

  • rapid scientific advance is resulting in a flood of new treatments, diagnostic tools, methodologies, pharmaceuticals, and bio-materials. There is an increased need for careful, diligent cost benefit analysis to stay at the leading, but practical, edge
  • simple demographics suggest that the elusive EHR (electronic health record), which has not yet been quite successful, will emerge as Gen-Connnect comes to increasingly dominate the medical workforce
  • business model change is coming — and fast — as retail environments come to dominate the medical space. A recent Healthcare Financial Management magazine article, in a reader survey, of the “most important people in healthcare”, ranked Steve Case first, and Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, second. Steve is involved in several initiatives which involve the opening of retail “health care stores”. The survey shows that transformative, IT driven change will continue to have profound impacts in the health care sector.
  • patient empowerment is leading to faster demand for cutting edge medical services, which increases the complexity of the careful balancing game underway in most hospitals
  • there continues to be huge opportunity with tech in the sector; it’s estimated that one medication mistake can cost a hospital upwards of $2,000 — and Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital reduced error rates by 55% over an eight month period using computerized order entry

There were a lot of other issues that were explored: but bottom line, in the high velocity economy, the role of the CFO in the hospital is set to undergo a significant tactical-to-strategic transition : one that involves in helping to balance and manage high velocity change!

  • read Future Medicine: Prescriptions for 21st Century Health Care

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