Whether you embrace it or not, health reform is going to influence how your organization operates in the future. The health system at large is experiencing a shift, and you’re going to be swept along with the current.
For some organizations, trimming the sails has already started. Those who have the forethought to take a leading role in the new era of healthcare are beginning to stand out, and they have at least two things in common.
Attributes of forward thinkers
1. Leaders are rethinking their approach to outcomes
Folks who aim to be one step ahead of the trend are abandoning the old-school idea that nice anecdotes and random messages from former patients are good enough for outcomes measures. Instead, they are using every tool they can get their hands on, from technology to research data to the pure enthusiasm of their staff, to put some quantifiable numbers on what they can or cannot produce.
Yes, the measurement process is an administrative pain in the neck, but the standouts know there’s return on that investment: They’ve seen more grant funding, more new patients and more favorable contracts thanks to their focus on outcomes. It’s incredibly hard to keep in touch with patients after they leave your care, but the most successful organizations are going to find innovative ways of doing it.
2. Leaders are embracing the promise of integration
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act and the accountable care movement, you will no longer be working in a vacuum. Some organizations scream and shout about how they want the behavioral health specialty to be engaged as a true part of healthcare, rather than the “stepchild.” Now is the time.
Even if you start with informal discussions with your local primary care counterparts, you will see the new integration opportunities begin to arise.
For example, population health pilot projects are getting all kinds of funding these days. They aim to identify a group of people and improve their health with a variety of techniques. There’s great potential for a natural fit between behavioral health and primary care in many of the projects.
Even though such fundamental change can be overwhelming, don’t wait for the market forces to make the decisions for you. Resist the urge to quietly move within your own little silo, glad for the autonomy for as long as it lasts. Now is the time to go after the opportunities to secure your foothold.
Behavioral Healthcare has announced the leaders selected as 2015 Behavioral Healthcare Champions. Read their stories!