Future strategic direction plays a huge role in health care. In this paper, I plan to describe a minimum of five challenges that are defining the future strategic direction of health care. The challenges that will be addressed include the information technology advancements such as the electronic medical record/electronic health record challenge, the accreditation, quality of healthcare, and organizational compliance challenge, the access to health care including the uninsured and those in the poverty levels challenge, the market shares and advancing age of population challenge, and the maintaining a skilled workforce challenge. I will also describe how an organization can adapt its direction and strategies to effectively address these challenges. Technology, protocol, regulations, populations, and workforce skill will always change within time and how an organization chooses to address these challenges will determine its success or failure. The first challenge to be addressed is the challenge of information technology advancements such as the electronic medical record or electronic health record. To be used effectively, the EHR must have a meaningful use. There are several ways for the EHR to have a meaningful use. First, to have a meaningful use the organization must have a knowledge of the use and its benefits to the organization. There are several factors that must be in place for the meaningful use to benefit the organization. One such way is that technical resources must be available and utilized effectively.
Other ways would include vendor support, the use of information for specialists, the return on the investments, and the availability of state programs. FUTURE 3 Technical resources are crucial because there will always be problems that arise in the systems. Information for specialists must be available and easily accessed without invading privacy. There needs to be a return-on-investment to be effective. The availability of state programs has to be present to be effective. The challenges that may arise when adopting the HER process may include cost challenges. This would require knowing the cost of the infrastructure of the program, the training involved, and the technical support involved. This would require a great dealof budget planning to see a return on investments. Time would also present a challenge with this system because it requires more time on behalf of the employees that they normally would have been seeing patients. Preparation is a challenge because all stakeholders would have to be in support of the adoption and all the work that goes into it. There has to be a well thought out implementation of the program and maintaining it to be successful. Another challenge could be the availability of vendors with the whole market on deadlines and with consultants and extension centers in high demand, availability could become an issue.
Training is another issue that needs to be well planned and without adequate training, time, cost, customer satisfaction, and employee support from good training, there could be failure. Making sure that the new HER system operates fully with other existing systems is crucial and data migration from paper or digital resources could result in data losses. They are also very time-consuming. Along with the HER challenges, organization are also facing the challenges of accreditation and organizational compliance. There are strict rules and regulations as well as protocol to follow for an organization to earn accreditation status. Staff can provide to be a huge challenge in accreditation because many employees do not believe in the accreditation being an FUTURE 4 overall positive step to take because of all the necessary time, paperwork, certifications, etc. and skepticism about the credentials of the accreditors while reaching this status and maintaining it. Effectiveness and cost effectiveness proves to be a challenge in organization’s looking to be accredited. It can become very expensive. Separating quality improvement from quality control can seem a difficult process. While accreditation processes basically guarantee quality improvement in an organization, just taking all the necessary steps and keeping employees on board can prove to be the biggest challenge.
Another challenge would include the low number of accreditation boards available for hospitals. To face these challenges, having a good baseline accreditation process in crucial to the strategic planning. Education of managers with explanations of the advantages and benefits of the process will be needed. Using credible and knowledgeable evaluators and knowing monitoring standards can be proven key to success. An on-going data collection monitoring system can provide excellent ways of tracking in your strategic planning process. A project plan of core standards and time frames, mini-evaluations of requirements, and obtaining commitment from all staff will prove to be beneficial in the strategic planning process as well. Besides the accreditation and HER challenges, the future will also bring challenges in the access to healthcare by the under-insured and poverty level citizens. The issue here includes the overall healthiness of the under-insured and lower income people to have preventative care and take care of pre-existing conditions. If these conditions go undetected, the outcome can become dire. These people are far less likely to seek treatment and will many times not report any problems in getting the necessary medical care. This is where the access to healthcare becomes an issue because if it is not reported, problems escalate with the available access.
Many of these FUTURE 5 people do not seek care on a regular basis and do not have primary care physicians or other sources of care. With prices rising, the number of uninsured and under-insured has grown. If given prescriptions if they do get to seek care, many do not fill the medications because of cost and affordability issues. Many major illnesses are not caught on time and then they have to be hospitalized. After hospitalization, they are referred to a specialist but most of these patients do not follow up with the specialists again because of affordability. This leads to a huge lack in access to health care that is necessary. The Affordable Health Care Act and the expansion of Medicaid services addresses many of these issues. Improvements in access, the utilization, and reduction of high out-of-pocket costs have reduced the number of people needing access tremendously. Strategic planning for the future would include safety nets of clinics and hospitals to care for the uninsured, charity care, reduction of costs, and prescription help programs. Federal funding and community communication to address needs and raise money with charities and donations will play an important role.
The health reform has addressed many of these issues, but planning for the future, knowing what help is available, and leading these patients to the help available, will be necessary to maintain progress in this area. The challenge of market shares and advancing population ages is at an all-time high and expected to get higher. The U.S. population is aging. Home health with the population aging resulting in challenges in the delivery of healthcare, hospital consolidations becoming necessary, length of hospital stays needing to be reduced as well as growing Medicaid and Medicare customers are all examples of these issues. There is and continues to be huge growth in home health markets. The workforces are older and the patients are older than in the past with the future showing even more advancement in average ages. More retirement age workforces and FUTURE 6 patients that will only require home health or hospice services is something that is being seen more and more. The challenges to the workforce would include keeping a regular staff that will have many years of continuous work for the company so that we have available medical staff in our hospitals, medical office, clinics, etc. Strategic planning for the future would include strategies and recommendations on the recruitment and the retaining of skilled health professionals regardless of their ages.
Identifying innovative practices to promote employment in healthcare even those with disabilities or past retirement ages can be aimed at retaining the experienced older staff and creating job opportunities for all ages. Maintaining a skilled workforce is yet another challenge that has been identified and needs to be addressed for the future of our health care. Research has shown that in workforce demographics and the trends of the workforce, hospitals will face low vacancy due to recession, shortages, and the tight labor market in the next decade. (Schidlow, 2008) Recruiting and retaining workers to replace the retirees will be crucial. Strategic planning to include work process redesign, new technology implementation and maintenance, keeping employee satisfaction, and the attraction of a new generation of work staff will be necessary. Future strategic direction plays a huge role in health care. In this paper, I described a minimum of five challenges that are defining the future strategic direction of health care.
The challenges that were addressed included the information technology advancements such as the electronic medical record/electronic health record challenge, the accreditation, quality of healthcare, and organizational compliance challenge, the access to health care including the uninsured and those in the poverty levels challenge, the market shares and advancing age of population challenge, and the maintaining a skilled workforce challenge. I also described how an FUTURE 7 organization can adapt its direction and strategies to effectively address these challenges. Ultimately, technology, protocol, regulations, populations, and workforce skill will always change within time and how an organization chooses to address these challenges will determine its success or failure.
FUTURE 8 References
Beaman, C. D., Jr. (2008). Caring for the uninsured. Healthcare Executive, 23(1), 46-47. Retrieved from the EBSCOhost database.
Bisognano, M., Schummers, D., & McCannon, J. (2008). Leadership’s role in execution: Change must happen organizationwide to be successful. Healthcare Executive, 23(2), 66,68,70. Retrieved from the EBSCOhost database.
Delgado, R. I. (2009). Financial performance drivers and strategic control: The case of cancer treatment centers (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from the ProQuest database.
Reilly, P. (2012). Leading change in a new era. Healthcare Financial Management 66(1) 53-57. Retrieved from the ProQuest database.
Runy, L. A. (2009). Why the hospital physician staffing structure must change. Hospitals & Health Networks 83(6), 55-56, 1. Retrieved from the ProQuest database.
Schidlow, D. V. (2008). Strategic planning in health care: The results are everything…or are they? Physician Executive, 34(2), 32-4. Retrieved from the ProQuest database.
Spath, P. L., & Abraham, S. C. (2013). Strategic management in healthcare organizations. Ashford University: San Diego, CA.
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