Summer is here and we have articles that are too hot to handle in print, so we are presenting them exclusively online. Indeed, the July/August issue of the Journal of Healthcare Management has more high-quality articles than available space in the print edition. Fortunately, we have a robust website to provide a timely forum for all of our content, and we are delighted to give these e-articles and their accompanying practitioner applications an excellent online showcase. I encourage you to visit www.ache.org/journals to read them.
The online exclusives include an article by Aaron Spaulding, PhD, et al. that explores the role of hospitalists in value-based purchasing programs. Hospitalists have become integral to the healthcare landscape; the numerous benefits of employing them include enhanced cost control, better care coordination, and improved care outcomes. The authors’ analysis finds that many of the benefits realized from using hospitalists flow from their care coordination activities. For organizations considering the benefits of value-based purchasing, there are several useful insights here.
Our second online-only article considers the use of consumer-directed health plans (CDHPs) in a cost-control strategy. David William Jordan, PhD, undertakes a sophisticated analysis of how consumers pick their plans. As is so often the case, there are clear indications that CDHPs benefit from favorable selection. Although engaging consumers is necessary in controlling costs, designing health insurance that cannot be gamed is another challenge.
Our third online-only article exemplifies the axiom that you cannot manage what you do not measure. Keyuri Popat, MD, et al. provide examples of the time-driven activity-based costing approach to allocating expenses across service lines. Given the complexity of healthcare services, it is all too easy to give up on accurately assessing hospital operations. Popat et al. demonstrate the potential for assessing personnel costs to create process improvement strategies.
The print edition of this issue of JHM opens with an interview with Diana L. Smalley, RN, FACHE, regional president of the Mercy health system in Oklahoma. Ms. Smalley is one of this year’s two winners of the Gold Medal Award presented by the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) for inspiring leadership. Her background includes a fascinating splash of entrepreneurship. I think you will enjoy our conversation.
The yearlong Caring for the Caregivers series continues with a column by Akram Boutros, MD, FACHE, president and CEO of The MetroHealth System in Cleveland, Ohio, and Sara Laskey, MD, MetroHealth’s chief experience officer. They tackle stress and fatigue in the healthcare workforce and describe initiatives to build resilience in their organization. The MetroHealth Code Lavender, for example, is a rapid-response innovation that many other hospitals might want to explore and emulate. Building a caring culture is no small task, and this column offers several good ideas to support those efforts.
ACHE’s Richard J. Stull Student Essay Competition in Healthcare Management encourages future healthcare leaders to identify and describe important issues and developments in their chosen profession. This year’s undergraduate-division winner is Hannah-Kaye Fleming from Auburn University, and the graduate-division winner is Greg Bauer, an alumnus of the master’s program in healthcare delivery leadership at Mount Sinai Health System in New York City. Fleming’s essay looks at community care teams and how they can help lower costs in high-risk populations. Bauer reviews another approach: adding value to the delivery process through e-health initiatives. Both essays describe strategies for improving care coordination after patients enter the system.
In their research article, Ju Long, PhD, and Jaymeen Shah, PhD, look at how nurse-led care for cancer prevention might be improved. The authors identify and discuss the barriers that impede nurse practitioners from delivering effective preventive care. They based their study on a survey that asked nurses to describe common challenges. While some of the causes are familiar, the results present some surprises, too.
The final article in this issue assesses community benefit. The topic is of growing interest, as state and federal regulators are putting more pressure on nonprofit health systems to justify their special tax-exempt status. A team of authors from the Philadelphia area led by Avi Baehr, MD, looks at how disparate health systems coordinate, or fail to coordinate, efforts to provide community benefit and fulfill their obligations.
Like most summers, this issue takes us to new and interesting places. Here’s hoping to see you on the beach, JHM in hand.