For facilities or organizations that provide patient care, quality of care has become a key metric for measuring financial viability — and the leadership of these organizations plays a critical role in achieving that quality of care. With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at the role of healthcare leadership in improving patient care, and what specific actions leaders can take to meet that responsibility.
The Role of Healthcare Leadership in Improving Patient Care and, How Financial Performance Fits in
It may seem like a no-brainer that focusing on quality of care and patient safety can positively affect a facility’s financial performance. Yet it’s also not uncommon for leadership teams to search through a whole host of other solutions before addressing this factor — from cuts in workforce and supplies to changes to the types of services made available to patients, and so on.
“Efforts to control the high costs of health care in the United States presuppose hospitals can do more with less,” noted the authors of a cross-sectional study on the topic published in PLOS One. “Hospitals face considerable pressure to lower costs while maintaining quality outcomes.”
Yet only in recent years has it become widely accepted that the most direct route to success is a focus on patient care. When the authors of the PLOS One study measured data from 108 acute care facilities in New York State, for instance, they found “a clear relationship between hospital financial performance and hospital quality/safety performance score (standardized correlation coefficient 0.34, p<0.001).”
In addition, a 2017 review published in the Journal of Health Care Finance concluded that “the integration of quality and financial management plans may be very beneficial for hospitals,” in the words of the authors.
“Many organizations separate the two functions; however, this may not be the best option. Quality and financial are closely related and should be treated as such. Integrating the two plans and staff could lead to a higher quality, higher financially stable hospital.”
In this context, improving your organization’s financial health means taking a more direct lead in operational aspects that affect quality of care. The authors of a study published in the Swiss Healthcare journal, leadership confirm this idea, writing that “a core element for a well-coordinated and integrated provision of care,” from the perspective of both “patients and healthcare professionals.”
They go on to point out how the need for leadership is “essential regardless of where care is delivered (e.g., clinics or inpatient units, long-term care units, or home care facilities), especially for those who are directly involved with patients for long periods of time .”
What Actions Can Leaders Take?
The Healthcare authors offer a specific list of directives that can help leaders effectively manage these key operational components: “Health care organizations need to ensure technical and professional expertise, build capacity, and organizational culture, and balance leadership priorities and existing skills in order to improve quality indicators in health care and move a step forward,” they write.
When broken down into their individual components, it becomes clearer how to meet each of these objectives.
Healthcare Staffing & Recruitment
When it comes to ensuring technical and professional expertise, the solution could be found with a healthcare staffing and recruitment company that has a deep bench of professionals across the United States. From nurses, nursing aides, therapists and techs to specialized clinicians, pharmacists and even interim leadership, an established, nationwide partner can ensure access to the expertise you need, when you need it.
Building capacity and organizational culture is another part of the role of healthcare leadership in improving patient care, as per the Healthcare authors, as is balancing leadership priorities and existing skills. A few other workforce-related solutions may better serve leaders and their organizations when it comes to these goals.
Healthcare Vendor Management Services (VMS)
For instance, a healthcare vendor management services (VMS) provider can help ensure that essential parts of your operations are handled by a third party that specializes in that specific task, helping you not only build out capacity, but ensuring its done with the utmost expertise.
After all, most healthcare organizations already use some variety of third-party vendors for billing, claims management or other tasks. By partnering with a healthcare VMS, leaders can consolidate those tasks into a single line item for easier and more effective oversight.
By ensuring more complete oversight over every third-party vendor, a VMS can also help you run a more efficient business, with less redundancy and waste. And a truly effective VMS partner should also provide you with regular high-level reporting for everything it manages, helping you fully understand your ROI and giving you the insights to optimize the role of healthcare leadership in improving patient care.
Healthcare Managed Services (MSP)
A healthcare managed services provider (MSP), or a dedicated provider of clinical workforce solutions, can take these benefits even further. A healthcare MSP is a customizable, scalable program that can handle every aspect of your workforce you need help with, from sourcing and hiring through invoicing and billing.
> Take a deeper dive into an essential topic: What’s The Difference Between MSP and VMS?
An MSP can also help you manage other key tasks like compliance, risk management, EMR/EHR conversion, and more. As opposed to a VMS, it can solve specific workforce challenges, as well as help you achieve a better ability to reduce expenses and improve efficiencies across your entire organization.
Master the Leader’s Role in Improving Patient Care with CareerStaff
The prospect of taking a more direct role in the quality of care your organization delivers may seem daunting for some leaders. After all, everyone has their own style of leadership, often built on decades of experience and education. And that style may not always seem to be compatible with direct management of these critical areas.
Yet as we recently noted in our guide to long-term strategies for LTC facilities, a willingness for leaders to expand their range of expertise into new areas — and to honestly assess where their leadership is needed, and isn’t — could make the difference when it comes to hitting your financial goals in the months and years to come.
Joint Commission Certified and an official Great Place to Work®, CareerStaff is the nation’s top choice for healthcare staffing solutions for good reason. With a full range of workforce solutions that includes sourcing full-time and contingency workers through to VMS and MSP services, we’re standing by to help you achieve your patient care goals.