Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
CEO Minute: Our Keys to Financial Success

CEO Minute: Our Keys to Financial Success

CEO Minute: Our Keys to Financial Success- image0I feel fortunate to have the privilege of interviewing all faculty candidates. After the conversation settles down, these candidates sometimes tell me that because of my role they expected I would only be interested in collections, RVUs and such —You know, debits and credits. And while financial success is one of our key performance indicators, it is only one. Plus, there are numerous factors that enable financial success. We have to be clicking on several fronts to even hope to have financial success. As I think about our recent presidential election and the strategic plan that we are finalizing (thanks for the input, BTW), I believe we need to do several things in the near future.

Here they are:

Build our scale and scope. What I mean by this is expand our outreach in our vast service area. President Tedd L. Mitchell, M.D., speaks of shrinking West Texas and what he means is knitting it together through networks, telemedicine, EHRs, mutual support agreements and so forth. We need to be partnering with providers throughout West Texas to improve the health of our residents. Scope means simply doing more things for more people that make sense from a quality and value standpoint.

Integrate care delivery. We are part of a fractured national system of health care delivery. I heard a speaker recently say our health care delivery system is like the carpenter, plumber, framer and electrician working on a project and not having a common set of plans or even talking to each other. We can do better — doctors, nurses, pharmacists, hospitals, clinics and therapists of all types must work in coordination for the patient’s benefit. No, I am not Pollyanna… this is possible.

Demonstrate high levels of clinical quality. This is the price of being in the game. People have the right to expect that our quality be first rate. Let us not disappoint. There are numerous ways to measure quality and we need to move from process measures to outcome measures. This means we focus not on just checking the box that a step was done but that we ask, “Is the patient better as the result of our care?”

Offer consistently superior customer service. Our patients have another right, too, and that is to be treated well when they come to see us; to be respected. They should be greeted warmly when they are with us. It’s an old song — but every dissatisfied customer will tell, on average, 25 others. If that does not get our attention, consider this: for every patient that complains, there are 20 that just leave and we never know why. They just vote with their feet.

Establish a competitive cost position. Yes, most providers in the nation have historically been focused on, “When can we raise our charges again?” (I know, I have been one of them for more than 30 years.) But, in our new reality, we need to be thinking, “How can we save folks money?” That, my friend, is a paradigm shift of the first-order, but, it is what the times demand.