Category: Healthcare

Hospitals Can Overcome Adversity and Come Back to Life

We have all heard stories about Navy Seals or Olympic athletes who have overcome great adversity to beat the challenges in front of them, but what about organizations such as hospitals?

Hospitals are supposed to cure the sick, aren’t they? As an inspirational overcoming adversity speaker specializing in the healthcare industry, I’ve witnessed many hospitals that became so sick they had to shut their doors.

Returning to Health

These are not easy times for hospitals. In an article written for Becker’s Hospital Review (March 28, 2017), CGH Medical Center CIO and Vice President Randy Davis cited 11 reasons why hospitals fail. Among the important points were lacking the courage to lead, leaving destiny to others (and doing nothing), ignoring patients, and treating physicians like commodities.

One of Davis’ many conclusions was, “A hospital must make certain they have a medical staff adequately equipped to meet the needs, demographics and desires of your market.”

Are you determined to meet the needs of your market?

There are hospitals that have overcome adversity to reinvent themselves and thrive. One example is Sonoma Valley Hospital in Sonoma, California. The hospital’s leadership closed their Obstetrics and Skilled Nursing functions for lack of profitability as they realized they couldn’t be everything to everyone. They now focus mainly on surgery, intensive care, pharmacy services, diagnostic imaging and laboratory. They made a sweeping change from inpatient to outpatient services. They realized that their Emergency Department was the greatest service to the community and they have expanded that function. With their goal to return to profitability, they emphasized that they did not abandon their patients who once sought out services such as Obstetrics, for example; instead they directed those patients to excellent services available at nearby hospitals.

To return to profitability, Jersey City Medical Center doubled the size of its emergency room, developed a volunteer first responder program, started a teleconferencing program between patients and physicians, and used smart technology to diagnose and treat medical problems.

In its vision to return to financial health, CarePoint Health in Hoboken, Bayonne and Jersey City, directed its hospitals to expand access to the community, enabled “video-visiting” with an emergency room clinician, and employed a “Telestroke” system to allow neurologists to prescribe directly to ER physicians. In addition to the tangibles, they are determined to expand the intangibles such as greater LGBTQ+ sensitivity training and greater sensitivity to women’s health concerns.

Determined to Thrive

The difference between a hospital that chooses to overcome the hardships it faces and the facility that falls into “sickness” is in having the vision to change and the resolve to see it through. The leadership of any hospital cannot ignore what is happening around them by leaving destiny to chance. Change can be painful, but it shouldn’t get in the way of a bold vision.

As Randy Davis concluded, “Leaders lead, and there is no better time to demonstrate that than to guide your board into proper broad goals and objectives. Then, you must accept accountability of the goals they create. No one said all the conversations would be comfortable.”

Overcoming adversity takes effort on the part of everyone invested in the success of the hospital and the lives that will ultimately be impacted by positive change.

 

Contact Scott Burrows, Healthcare Industry Keynote Speaker today through this website or call us at: (520) 548-1169

 

Tough Times for Pharma Sales Reps. What is Your Mindset?

As a pharmaceutical sales keynote speaker, I know these are not easy times to be a pharmaceutical sales rep. The once glamorous profession is facing greater stresses and more adversity than ever before.

The statistics bear me out. According to ZS Associates, the U.S.-based management consulting firm specializing in the pharmaceutical industry, the industry will have around 60,000 reps this year, down from a sales force of about 100,000 reps in 2005.  In addition to the decline in reps, there is a more troubling trend. In 2012 about 65% of physicians were “accessible” to meet with a sales rep but by 2016 the percentage had dropped to barely 44%.

What is going on?

Some industry old-timers might point to the Sun Shine Act of 2007, which started the process of greater transparency, less gift-giving and “bonuses” but that is hardly responsible for present day problems. Market research into attitudes of physicians toward pharmaceutical sales reps confirms what many of you are feeling:  the relationship has soured.

In 2017, the healthcare market research firm DRG Digital – Manhattan Research published physician polling data that should be a wake-up call to the industry.

Overcoming the Perception of Being Stale

The research found that more than half of the physicians felt reps showed them information they had seen before. To the practices, most visits were time wasters. Some specialties placed the “staleness problem” even higher. Seven out of ten oncologists and six out of ten dermatologists had a good idea of what reps would present about their drug before the reps ever called on the physicians.

The research also revealed 75% of physicians routinely found what they needed about the drug online and more than half regularly used pharmaceutical digital databases. Unless there was something new to for a rep to offer, the feeling was why bother?

Despite the disappointment of being presented with old information, about 65% of the doctors polled met with their sales reps and six out of ten said they wanted to meet with their pharmaceutical sales reps in the future. They remained optimistic something new might be offered.

Though the use of computer tablets by the reps dramatically dropped between 2013 to 2017, it didn’t mean that tablet presentations were obsolete. Far more important was new information on what organizations offered patients in terms of education and support.

Overcoming the Communication Gap

Though many of the reps use dedicated health industry software communications platforms, only 12 percent of the physicians polled said they communicated with their reps in that fashion. At the same time, three times as many physicians said they had thought about communicating that way. There is a communication gap.

DRG Digital – Manhattan Research concluded in part that “Sales and marketing teams need to provide a deeper level of support to physicians beyond product promotion and maximizing their investment.”

It comes down to support, education and a commitment to customer service, not just leaving samples and hoping for a prescription quota. In addition, the landscape has shifted to being more adversarial and less welcoming than ever before. Medical and pharmacy students are being taught “resistance techniques” to cope with pressure from sales reps and patients from their earliest days of classwork.

The pharmaceutical sales landscape may be tense with difficulty, but it can be overcome. Physicians want information they can’t get from anyone but you, along with extra-effort support and communication. Will you have the mindset to deliver on their needs and to overcome the adversity of negative perceptions?

 

For more information on how Pharmaceutical sales representatives can develop techniques to rise above the crowd, contact Scott Burrows, pharmaceutical sales keynote speaker today through this website or call us at: (520) 548-1169

 

 

Is the Healthcare Industry Paralyzing Patient Care with Numbers?

For some time now, the mindset in the healthcare industry has been that the economies of scale created by the mergers of healthcare systems have resulted in superior patient care. Financial analysts have argued that since consolidation has worked for airlines, restaurant chains and insurance companies, then why not for the medical community?

Consolidation has been presumed to reduce costs and expand services and treatment options, especially in competitive markets. The raw numbers might seem to support this contention; certainly, there are budgetary advantages of lowering unit costs of medical devices, buying pharmaceuticals in greater quantities or eliminating redundant administrators.  But experts are now warning that in the rush to consolidate, one critical factor is being overlooked: patient care.

New Findings on the Patient Experience

A recent New York Times article entitled “Hospital Mergers Improve Health? Evidence Shows the Opposite,” suggests that tragically, the results of merging have led to an increase in patient mortality and a decline in care.

Martin Gaynor, a Carnegie Mellon University economist and one of the authorities cited in the article says “evidence from three decades of hospital mergers does not support the claim that consolidation improves quality (care).”

To back that up, the Federal Trade Commission recently reviewed the cases of about two million Medicare beneficiaries who had been treated for heart disease over an eight-year period. According to the article, in areas of the country where there is less competition “(Cardiac) patients are more likely to have heart attacks, visit the emergency department, be readmitted to the hospital or die.” In fact, in areas where there is one dominant cardiology clinic and the elimination of competition, cardiac patients may stand a 5-7% chance of having a repeat heart attack.

When competition is allowed in a market, healthcare staffs have no choice but to turn their mindset to the patient. They have to care about patient satisfaction, and in turn patients respond to that care. This is just as true in countries where there is strong government regulation, such as England, as it is in the United States.

According to the New York Times piece, “family doctors in England found that quality (care) and patient satisfaction increased with competition.”

More Than Numbers, It’s Mindset

In many areas of the country, consolidation has also created long patient wait times to make appointments and then once in the facility to be seen in a timely manner. Some healthcare specialists believe that if wait times are streamlined then patient satisfaction will dramatically improve. This is the case of another “number” being applied to a complex issue as though patients are pieces on a conveyor line.

Press Ganey Associates is the leading market research firm for the healthcare industry known for its patient satisfaction surveys. In other words, they talk to patients. Joe Greskoviak, president and CEO at Press Ganey concluded:

“The immediate reaction is that patient loyalty is based off things like wait time. That’s not necessarily the case. There are drivers of patient loyalty that are very actionable (such as) improving communication and then, empathy. Patients want to understand that we actually care for them.

Chasing the numbers is paralyzing patient care rather than curing it. Healthcare providers need to re-examine the mindset that consolidation, automation and computerization can improve patient satisfaction simply by reducing budgets, improving wait times and other analytics. There needs to be a renewed and shared vision that the focus of healthcare must return to the patient.

 

Contact Scott Burrows, Healthcare Industry Motivational Speaker through this website or call us today at: (520) 548-1169