While the rising costs of health care are a top concern for many CFOs, hospital and medical system CFOs face a new and interesting challenge – managing the fiscal health of a healthcare practice. Back in December 2013, CFOs expressed concerns about rising labor costs in the Bank of America Merrill Lynch 2014 CFO Outlook report. For CFOs in the healthcare system, rising labor costs aren’t half the problem.
Financial Challenges in the Healthcare Industry
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) and its impact on national healthcare systems received much media attention; however, according to some hospital CFOs, it isn’t all that bad. Hackensack University Health Network’s CFO, Robert Glenning, has a positive view of ACA and what it has helped accomplish thus far. In his opinion, “There [are] things that need to change, but there’s so much good that has happened.”
Most CFOs in the healthcare field report the following concerns as more pressing than healthcare reform:
- Keeping technology current. Glenning’s interview revealed a high dependence upon technology. With the need for diagnostic tools and expensive machinery in nearly every room, staying current while keeping costs down is a challenge.
- Maintaining security and patient safety. From data security to energy independence, healthcare CFOs must think outside-the-box and apply innovative ideas to stay within budget.
- Clearly communicating ideas. Unlike other settings, hospitals and healthcare systems are home to a combination of professionals with skill sets ranging from surgical to financial. Clear communication of needs, expectations, and outcomes between departments must occur to keep everyone on the same page.
Putting Patients First: Technology Stretches Funds
Creative solutions to common healthcare CFO woes have incorporated the use of technology to expand functionality while maintaining a stable bottom line. When interviewed about his priorities as CFO, Glenning commented that he has seen a large opportunity for IT and data to help guide and lead the company.
As an example of technology’s role in the modernization of healthcare, Glenning supplemented his need for multiple EKG machines with an EKG app, available on any cell phone throughout the healthcare network. At a savings of thousands per machine, Glenning and fellow CFOs are inspired to employ technology to improve patient care while reducing costs.
How does technology benefit your company’s bottom line?