When healthcare organisations consolidate their services - to bring efficiencies, or reduce costs, they must be aware of 4 challenges.
When healthcare organisations consolidate their services, to bring efficiencies, or reduce costs, they must be aware of 4 challenges.
1. Access to rich data
Unfortunately, rich data can be a challenge for a lot of healthcare organisations. Not all healthcare systems have the data stored in an intelligence platform, to access and make real-time decisions. If the data foundation is not strong, decisions being made can be questioned by stakeholders, costing the healthcare system in terms of reputation, impact, and delivery. Data should be stored, analysed with national and international data sets as benchmarks. Advanced analytics must be leveraged to enhance decision-making capabilities.
2. Managing cultural change
Centralisation must be implemented after effective stakeholder engagement and communication. Again, this should be a data-based approach, qualifying your decision with evidence based on data gathered to support the consolidation or closure of a service. The strength of engagements allows for higher acceptance of service centralisation by staff, ensure the culture remains positive.
Alignment is key, and providing incentives helps the stakeholders embrace and drive change.
3. Managing sunk investments
When services are centralised there is equipment, space and services that are no longer required. If significant investments were made, these are sunk costs for the healthcare organisation. Some of these can be redeployed, eg that space can be repurposed into a more productive service area but equipment might not be required. Healthcare organisations and their leadership teams must be prepared for these losses.
4. Brand reputation
Whilst consolidation is required to drive efficiencies, it always ends up inconveniencing some stakeholders, thus you must have a strategy in place to a) communicate effectively the reasons for consolidation and b) why this will not affect the delivery of care overall for the community. Again, leveraging data and analytics brings credibility to the dialogue. Further, if there is clarity on how they can access the services that are being centralised, it puts their minds at ease that they are still accessible.
Change management must ensure human experience becomes a culture organization-wide. Read on.