Operations

  • 03/14/17
    When I think about how most hospitals audit their work processes, a favorite commercial comes to mind: the LifeLock™‘Bank’ TV spot. It begins with several armed robbers entering a bank filled with people. The robbers tell bank customers and employees to drop to the floor, but the security “monitor” remains standing. One of the customers looks up and whispers, “Hey, do something.” He responds, “Oh, I’m not a security guard, I’m a...more...
  • 03/09/17
    It’s interesting to think about the industrial engineering and almost fanatical insistence on consistency that goes into the production of something as inconsequential as a hamburger or a can of soda, and to contrast that with our tolerance for variation in the treatment of cancer or the use of high-cost imaging in the diagnosis of back pain. Two of the top five worldwide brands outside of the technology sector are McDonald’s and Coca-Cola, valued at $39 billion and $58 billion,...more...
  • 02/10/17
    Repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has been a unifying, and politically potent talking point for Republicans on the campaign trail, since the law was passed nearly seven years ago. Beyond the campaign, opposition to the law in Congress by the GOP has been ubiquitous. But with President Obama wielding the power of veto, there had been very few real legislative threats to the law’s underpinnings. That all changed in November. more...
  • Sg2, a Vizient company
    01/10/17
    No two words struck more fear into the hearts of radiologists in 2016 than “artificial” and “intelligence,” unless you added “deep learning” to the mix. Some radiologists have expressed concern that big imaging data could continue feeding the deep-learning beast to the point where computing power becomes robust enough to replace the radiologist entirely.more...
  • 01/05/17
    Emperor penguins congregate on desolate stretches of packed ice in colonies comprised of tens of thousands of birds – some colonies are estimated to reach 50,000 breeding adults. Before an egg hatches, a mating pair alternates between searching for food and keeping the egg off of the ice, balancing it on their feet. Upon returning from feeding, one member of the pair must find their partner, often in a blizzard, to exchange roles. Once a chick can maintain its own body temperature, both...more...
  • 01/04/17
    In December 2014, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released a study stating that by 2025 the supply of registered nurses would outpace the demand by approximately 240,000 full-time equivalents. Regardless of your opinion of this analysis, I think we can all agree that as we kick off 2017, we are in the midst of a nurse staffing shortage.more...
  • 12/16/16
    The 21st Century Cures Act was signed into law on Dec. 13, 2016. It will, in all likelihood, be the final piece of health care legislation that President Obama will ever sign into law. It will bring to a close the legislative components of a presidency that has fundamentally sought to reshape health care delivery in this country. While books have and will likely continue to be written on the overall impact (and uncertain fate) of President Obama’s health reform law, I want to...more...
  • 12/13/16
    The rapid increase in health insurance deductibles over the last several years is rooted in traditional microeconomic theory: raise the price of a good or service and demand will go down. The price elasticity of demand – that is, the rate at which demand decreases as price increases – is affected by a wide range of variables such as the availability of lower cost substitutes, the degree of latitude involved in the purchasing decision, and the amount of discretionary income...more...
  • 12/12/16
    Everyone has points in their career that they recall with great clarity. One of those moments for me was in the fall of 2013 with the addition of the Medicare Spend per Beneficiary (MSPB) measure. As a nurse and quality professional, MSPB was like a golden thread that brings everything together: quality, safety, patient experience, inpatient and outpatient care, provider revenue and payer spend. Care delivery was finally becoming connected in a way that had the potential to engage everyone...more...
  • 11/17/16
    Economics is fundamentally about choices. Some choices are relatively easy and others are agonizingly difficult, but in the end, we are faced with making choices. At the root of economic theory is the culprit that forces choices: scarcity.more...