Staffing shortages tops the list of concerns for healthcare C-suite leaders, with 42 percent identifying this as having the biggest impact on their ability to delivery care effectively, according to Premier, Inc.’s Fall 2016 C-Suite Survey.
The survey from the Charlotte, N.C.-based organization, also revealed that nearly three-fourths of respondents identified that a limited number of primary care physicians isn’t adequate to meet the evolving needs of hospitals and health systems in a population health world. Drilling down further in staffing shortages, 51 percent of respondents said they don’t have an adequate supply of “healthcare extenders,” such as nurse practitioners or physician assistants. In sum, the report represented 52 health system C-suite executives across the U.S.
What’s more, somewhat surprisingly, respondents said they believe they’ve prepared adequately and are adjusting well within the “new normal” of a value-based care world: 81 percent reported they are successfully managing the transition from fee-for-service reimbursement to alternative payment models.
Starting next year, of course, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) will launch its first reporting period in which eligible Medicare clinicians will be reporting to a Quality Payment Program that determines a physician’s reimbursement based on the high quality, efficient care they provide that’s supported by technology. There has been significant concern across the industry regarding clinicians’ knowledge and readiness for MACRA, but nonetheless, the Premier survey found that 94 percent of respondents said they are having success in reporting performance-based metrics.
The survey further found that healthcare leaders are looking to innovative solutions to reduce spending without compromising quality, as opportunities to identify easy fixes dry up. Some 83 percent said it will be important for their supply chain team to explore risk-based contracting with suppliers over the next three years, while 98 percent expect to further standardize physician preference items (PPIs)—a figure that has tripled as a target strategy for healthcare decision makers.
Meanwhile, from a health IT standpoint, when looking at budgets, healthcare IT investments continue to dominate capital expenditures, with 70 percent reporting this as a key area for spending. This trend continues to persist as a prime source of capital investment for the sixth year in row, according to the survey. Within this bucket, reimbursement and regulatory hurdles appear to contribute to lack of widespread use of telemedicine. Nearly six in 10 (59 percent) reported to not incorporate telemedicine into primary care visits.
However, it also should be noted that 95 percent of those surveyed reported operational and cultural issues around mergers and acquisitions (M&A)—a key factor which can affect physician productivity and integration efforts.
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