Capital Budgeting in the Healthcare Industry

Over the past few months, the proposed healthcare reform has been the subject of much discussion and the healthcare industry has come under intense scrutiny as a result of the administration's efforts to curtail the increasing cost of healthcare. As an offshoot of the increasing cost of healthcare now more than ever hospitals have been placed in a situation whereby capital budgeting has become a necessary tool; Not only for sustenance but mostly for survival. Absence of a sound capital budgeting policy might potentially spell disaster for hospitals because an increase in cost accompanied by a decrease in revenue negatively impacts the bottom line and when funds are limited, it is essential to have a game plan of how the funds are to be used otherwise the hospital might find itself in a precarious situation.

Capital budgeting refers to the analysis of investment alternatives involving cash flows received or paid over a certain period of time. More often than not, the best alternative is usually the one that yields the greatest cash flow over time. This point can be disputed because other hospitals might place much emphasis on non-monetary results. In such cases, the best alternative is usually the one that comes as close as possible to yielding results that catapults the hospital closer to its objectives. Capital budgeting is a complicated process in the sense that great care has to be taken in the selection process and competing forces makes it the more challenging. Where there is competition, the possibility of politics being a factor is heightened and politics often times has its drawbacks especially when the voice of the minority is drowned out by the majority or the louder voice.


In order to better understand how capital budgeting works in the healthcare industry, we'll explore three different scenarios that do play out every once in a while in most hospitals throughout the country. For instance, Human Resources propose a day care facility for employees with children. Justification being: turnover rate of employees will be minimized and more nurses will potentially be attracted to the hospital because of the day care services offered. Turnover is costly to the hospital. Therefore, even though the project does not increase revenue, the project will get to benefit the hospital through reduced costs.

Capital Budgeting in the Healthcare Industry

The second scenario is the Imaging Services Department proposes the purchase of an additional CT scanner to ease the bottleneck and the backlog of work in the department. Purchase of a scanner is quite costly and therefore, if the present one is functional is there a need for a second one? One might argue that the high demand for usage creates tension between employees, wear and tear of the machine increases maintenance costs, overtime pay for the technicians' increases overhead costs and the hospital is left vulnerable in the event that the current scanner seizes to function. These are all valid considerations. However, one wonders; does the total benefit exceed the total cost?

The last scenario is a group of doctors working for the hospital propose the purchase of a special machine that eliminates the need for in house hospitalization of patients. With the new machine comes the benefit of reduced hospitalization. With reduced hospitalization of patients, the hospital might be better placed to reduce variable costs associated with the use of the facilities and safety might be enhanced because the possibility of the hospital exceeding capacity will be greatly reduced by having fewer patients in the facilities. The only drawback is the massive costs involved. The machine requires a large capital outlay upfront. Therefore, in as much as the purchase sounds good, the other alternatives sound equally as good if not better.

Faced with the three alternatives, a financial manager in the healthcare industry should determine the opportunity cost of capital. Opportunity cost of capital works on the fundamental law of finance that states that a dollar today is not the same as a dollar tomorrow. Therefore, when analyzing the three alternatives, the time value of money should not be ignored because one might come to a wrong conclusion if one doesn't consider the time value of money in the analysis. Future cash flows are discounted to the present value using a stated interest rate. Once the present value of all the alternatives is established, then the alternative that yields the highest present value is considered to be the best option. This method of analysis is known as the discounted cash flow method and from a personal standpoint; this method should be used widely in the healthcare industry because it is guided by the important law of finance stated above. I acknowledge the fact that each hospital is unique and estimating the future cash flow is difficult in other instances. In this case, other methods should be considered. However, discounted cash flow method though imperfect at times should be given first priority if all else is clear and all the variables are known.

Capital Budgeting in the Healthcare Industry

Muslim Exemption to Obamacare - Injurious Aspects of the Healthcare Reform Act

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), the upcoming health insurance mandate (Obamacare) does not kick in until the year 2014 but it has already created controversy. One accusation in particular is that Muslims will be exempt from paying into the program. The act does not specifically exempt any particular religion from health insurance requirements. It does however include a general "religious conscious" clause which establishes a religious conscientious exemption. If your religion has an established history of spurning gambling then maybe you have a chance of skipping out of the tax. Let's just bypass for a moment the injustice of my government placing one group of Americans over another and examine the legalistic claim of gambling.

Is insurance really a form of gambling? Gambling involves a certain level of uncertainty but uncertainty does not equate to gambling. The purpose of insurance is to transfer risk elsewhere so that you are not burdened by catastrophic financial costs. In the event of property damage or loss for instance, the policy payout is not in the form of winnings but merely a "return of capital" to restore that asset to its pre-incident condition. In such an instance the settlement money received is not even taxed by the IRS. Contrast that with lottery and other gambling winnings which most certainly are taxed.


Even religions that do not allow gambling allow exceptions for certain types of insurance which are required by law, such as automobile insurance, homeowner's insurance and social security. That's right; U.S. Muslims pay into the Social Security system and also accept Social Security payments.

Muslim Exemption to Obamacare - Injurious Aspects of the Healthcare Reform Act

OASDI, which stands for Old Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance, is a comprehensive federal benefits program that was established by Congress in 1935. The program includes retirement benefits, disability income, veteran's pension, public housing, and even the food stamp program. The Social Security tax is used to pay for the program. By law, the program is administered by the Social Security Administration. Today we just commonly refer to this blessed program as "Social Security."

It is an insurance program. The government is prohibited from ordering you to pay insurance premiums and so therefore they designate the payroll contributions as a tax and use the IRS to collect the funds to pay for the whole thing. OASDI (Social Security) is an insurance program and American Muslims are required to participate in this program.

We are not perfect but Americans collectively believe in fairness. If government health care is required to provide benefits then all able recipients should be required to pay. What if you can opt out of PPACA? If certain groups collectively decide not to participate in government health care are we then to deny them medical attention? Are hospitals to potentially turn away injured and dying Muslims and their children because they refused to pay into the health system? Of course not. If the benefits apply to everyone then so should the cost.

Let us take another tack as we reconnoiter this gambling charge. As I sit here writing this article my personal Social Security Statement shows that I have been paying Social Security and Medicare taxes since the age of 16. The minimum legal gambling age in most states is either 18 or 21. If insurance is a form of gambling, then governments and even private companies are breaking the law by collecting both Social Security and Medicare taxes from minors. Since there is documented proof that my government forced me into sinful debauchery at such a young and impressionable age then America is guilty of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. If insurance equates to gambling then I demand a full refund plus interest, or at the very least some free therapy.

Muslim Exemption to Obamacare - Injurious Aspects of the Healthcare Reform Act

Todd Lester's career has spanned across many years and numerous industries. He has been registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission and licensed to sell investments and insurance, worked as a retail manager, turned wrenches as an automotive mechanic, served cubicle time as an office manager and even owned his own business for many years restoring car interiors. And that is just since graduating college with a Finance degree. During much of this time, he was also a citizen soldier, serving twenty one years in the Army National Guards of both Louisiana and Texas as an Army bandsman. He has even performed as a clown with the Shrine Circus.

The Importance of Healthcare Marketing

Modern healthcare services have improved a lot more than what they used to be just a few years back. Patients today are well educated and very much aware of every new development in the field of medicine, thanks to advanced technologies and the Internet.

In such a scenario, as a medical practitioner, it is important to market yourself and your practice in such a way that your patients feel positive about you. Only then can you ensure that your current patients will keep visiting and also attract newer ones. This is the reason why healthcare marketing is nowadays essential for all healthcare professionals.


You need to identify the needs of your patients and the community in general to chalk out a marketing plan with a vision about what you want to achieve and what you need to do to accomplish those goals.

The Importance of Healthcare Marketing

Gone are the days when a patient would just go to the nearest doctor. The modern educated patients are willing to go that extra mile if the doctor is proven to be the expert in his field. They search and gather enough information and visit a physician only when they are convinced about his skills. And how do you let them know about your specialty and expertise? You need a proper healthcare marketing plan which uses strategic marketing tactics to achieve that.

Modern patients are not merely patients suffering from ailments who are in search of treatment options, but also consumers looking for good service related to their health and well being. And your practice is not just a practice; it is also a business which you need to market well to earn revenue and make profits.

Make the most of modern technology and use the internet and video conferencing facilities. Offer online consultations to expand your customer base. Build a website which your patients find useful and informative. Keep updating it with information about your latest additions, change in timings or add links to informative websites. Have your site customized to provide online scheduling of appointments, maintenance of patients' records or patients' testimonials.

In the present times, there are many organizations which work on all days of the week and even 24 hours a day. You also need to make sure that your care and service is available to your patients at all times, whenever they need it, without any compromise on quality. Good marketing will ensure that your patients know that your services are available at all times.

A good marketing plan will also assure your patients that it is their well being that you value the most. True, they bring you the much needed revenue, but their health is your priority and you have to make sure that they are informed about it.

Healthcare marketing is not just about money but also your reputation and goodwill which cannot be built overnight. There are a lot of intangible benefits which a patient gets from a physician and these are what will actually help you retain your patients. So you need an effective marketing plan which helps patients know the benefits of being associated with you. You will also be able to nurture your relationship with your patients, both existing and new.

The Importance of Healthcare Marketing

John White is a medical marketing expert who works full time with health care providers to increase their visibility on the web space to get people connected with the Medical Professionals.

The Future of Healthcare - The Impact of Technology

The advances in the technology and pharmaceutical products have resulted in a lot of innovations in the healthcare industry. New medicines are being developed in order to treat, manage and prevent many diseases and aging conditions of baby boomer population. Based on molecular and genetic tests new medical treatments and discoveries are being made. The future of healthcare seems to be bright as advances are being made in the health care technology and more individualized and targeted tests are being made, which reveal how people respond to different drugs.

Future of healthcare will also be impacted by the recently started electronic medical records. With the advancement of technology, the electronic medical records are sure to be affected and improved, thereby making the process of maintaining the patient related data in a more enhanced and sophisticated way. Eventually all the paper based patient related data will be converted to electronic medical records, thereby eliminating the need to maintain paper based records. At present thirty eight percent of the physicians have made a switch to the electronic medical record system and this percentage is expected to rise in the near future.


Telemedicine is another interesting aspect that is bound to gain a lot of focus in the future of healthcare industry. Telemedicine is a process of connecting physicians and patients through modern day technology, such as the internet. Telemedicine allows the physicians to interact with the patients via internet in a real time situation, thereby eliminating the need of making an office visit. This not only saves a lot of time but also cuts down on the expenses. With the advancements in technology, telemedicine is sure to gain a lot of advantage. It is a growing trend that will maintain its progress even in the future.

The Future of Healthcare - The Impact of Technology

Robotic surgery is another important aspect of future of healthcare sector. In the recent years, more and more robots have been assisting the surgeons in the operation rooms and this is a trend that is bound to gain a lot of focus in the coming years. Be it a surgery related to a prostrate cancer or heart, robotic surgery is an efficient solution. Though highly expensive, the usage of a robot for a surgery results in a shorter recovery time, since the surgery procedure is less invasive. Another surgery that a robot can efficiently perform is the hysterectomy. The process of removing the uterus for a wide variety of reasons is known as hysterectomy and this is one of the surgeries that a robot can perform very efficiently. Since, most of the women do not like the scars, which surface after the surgery, robotic surgery is the solution for them. As the robots perform the surgery with very less invasion, there are very less scars and even the recovery time is very short.

The future of healthcare has a lot of potential in discovering alternative medicines, new treatments and prevention techniques, etc. The more common the technology becomes, the less expensive will it be.

The Future of Healthcare - The Impact of Technology

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Obamacare: Healthcare and Its Bill

It has now been just over 6 months since Obama's Healthcare Bill, also known as "Obamacare", passed Congress. The first of these Healthcare Bill benefits have just started. And Obama is spending his time reminding us to be grateful for his ingenious leadership.

But, especially as a senior citizen, what exactly are we supposed to be grateful for? Even if you're not a senior citizen now, you will be one someday (God willing), so in other words, every one, from every stage and walk of life should be asking themselves, and their Government, this question


What he has been telling us about his Obamacare is this: insurance companies will not be allowed to compel yearly limits, lifetime restrictions on benefits, and all children will have the assurance of insurance (regardless of any pre-existing health conditions). And the President promises more of these good things in the future.

Obamacare: Healthcare and Its Bill

What is so odd about being grateful for these wonderful and good things, you ask? Nothing, absolutely nothing. But what is not a blessing, and the question our Leader refuses to answer is this: Who is going to be forced to pay for all these wonderful benefits? Even the extensive website that his administration has set up does not address who will bare the cost of this great bill. In fact, the wording lends more to the idea that no one will be responsible to pay, it will simply be "free".

One of the first things I remember hearing my father say is, "there's no such thing as a free lunch". You've heard that saying too. And it's still an accurate statement (and always will be), the money has to come from somewhere. And all this wonderful coverage The Healthcare Bill promises won't be cheap. While the individual beneficiary of Obamacare might not pay, someone, somewhere, sometime, will have to. And those persons, at that time, will pay dearly.

Our President has told us many times over that the rich and upper class should be shelling out more money, much more money, for their government than they already do. And in the case of Healthcare Reform, he says it's a great place for them to start. You know the people he's talking about - those who haven't been hit by the recession, those who have probably gained something from this economic hardship... the ones who had President Bush in their pockets.

According to a study done by Book and Capretts, that's not the correct answer. In actuality, those who will bare the brunt of the high cost of Healthcare Reform will be those with low-income, minorities; all the people who are currently struggling to pay their own medical bills will apparently, eventually, also be burdened with the bills for the rest of the country. And these are the people the President has promised the Healthcare Bill will help the most. Particularly since the current recession, those who are lower-income and elderly are struggling the most. The way to fix that isn't the Healthcare Bill.

Obamacare: Healthcare and Its Bill

For a better understand of what else is in President Obama's Healthcare Bill, visit []

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Knowledge Management in Healthcare: Succeeding in Spite of Technology

Technology and healthcare always have had an uneasy relationship. On one hand, there is the promise of technology and the enhancements it offers healthcare. These include improved medical information access, streamlined reporting, automation, reduced errors and more efficient processes. On the other hand, technology has fallen short of its full potential in healthcare, as too many competing systems make integrated data difficult to obtain. Additionally, the burdens of data entry and analysis burdens overwhelm rather than streamline processes.

Healthcare faces these mistakes if it "applies" technology to organizational Knowledge Management (KM) without first identifying KM goals and understanding how a KM system will be used by administrators, physicians, managers, and staff. Technology facilitates knowledge exchange, but it is not the end-all to managing knowledge effectively. Technology designed to enhance the interaction among a community of similar-minded participants, such as healthcare employees, can greatly enhance the exchange of knowledge. But it is the process and culture of an organization rather than the level of applied technology that make a KM system a wealth or void of retrievable information.


An effective KM system is built on communication and education and thrives in organizations encouraging shared learning both within and outside of the hospital walls. These systems store historical knowledge and knowledge created during exchanges of information among people who are interested in learning. Knowledge management systems designed with goals in mind, versus just acquiring the most advanced technology, is what will support healthcare organizations in streamlining processes, reducing costs and improving care.

Knowledge Management in Healthcare: Succeeding in Spite of Technology

Why Knowledge Management in Healthcare?

Healthcare industry professionals are realizing that previous efforts, (e.g. searching for the elusive "best practice" and applying it as a commodity), bureaucratic and toothless performance improvement initiatives and poorly thought-out IT implementations, have not led to improved results and reduced costs. As a mindset, KM attaches importance to knowledge and identifies the value of knowledge at different levels. As a framework, KM facilitates knowledge access and transfer, which helps change behaviors and improve decisions. Knowledge management systems support healthcare workers in using available knowledge to develop organizational learning. This learning assists the employees in critiquing a compilation of practice ideas and successfully designing a customized "Best Practice" for the organization. A good KM system can help staff create and exploit new knowledge. It is capable of driving decisions, change and improvements to all levels of the organization. And, in this era of escalating costs and declining reimbursements, an effective KM system is virtually essential to a healthcare organization's process improvement and cost reduction strategies.

Hospitals can be isolated places, which make it tough to gather 'knowledge'. The clinical side has the measurable research and knows the outcomes, but the operational side of the hospital lacks this information. Consider this example. A hospital's operational staff may be well aware of the increased benefit to changing one of its products used for patient care management. Nevertheless, the staff struggles when it comes to demonstrating the cost/benefit to administration and to the physicians. A KM system offers a hospital staff access to strategies and contacts so they can learn how others have successfully carried out similar situations.

Can We Talk?

Hospital staff is willing to share their knowledge with others in the field, although it's often done informally, such as networking at a convention or conversations with internal and external peers. Effective KM systems capitalize on these opportunities.

How does a KM system change behaviors and improve decisions? One hospital department is concerned with retaining staff, especially in light of the current nursing shortage. Typically, the manager struggles with the staffing issues alone or relies on a few peers within the department. Yet, what if the manager could connect with a peer internally and solicit his or her advice, even though this employee works in an unrelated department? The insight and perspective from an "outsider" may be very useful. How about contacting peers at other facilities? An effective KM system would facilitate 'experience sharing' among people struggling with staffing issues. It also archives the solutions brainstormed from the interaction to use as a basis for growing the collective knowledge of the group. This information is then readily accessible the next time a hospital manager (within the hospital or from another facility) faces retention issues.

Another method hospitals typically use to gain knowledge is gathering ideas from a multitude of experts, as is done when attending a conference or a convention. Yet, how is that information disseminated throughout the hospital or healthcare organization if only two employees attended the convention? If it is difficult to share and build ideas within one department or even throughout one hospital, how can anyone expect cross-hospital exchanges to prove fruitful? Obviously, it is more difficult to share information when individuals are not physically together and even more complex when the individuals are employees of different healthcare organizations. The benefits of sharing such a huge reservoir of knowledge are colossal. Technology is a must in these cases.

Knowledge Management ≠ Information Technology

Effective KM cannot be thought of, nor treated, as simply another exercise in information technology. Unfortunately, due to the access and distribution enhancements technology provides, healthcare administrators often have a distorted view of a KM system as an information technology system or as a solution that needs to be applied. While technology enhances sharing and information exchange, even the most technologically advanced KM system will not solve every dilemma. The keys to a successful KM implementation are:

· Identify the knowledge to exchange and distribute

· Determine how knowledge will be managed

· Match technology and resources appropriately to the culture and needs of the organization

Another fallacy about KM is that "knowledge" can be reduced to documents and then warehoused in a computer database for people to access as needed. The improvement resulting from a KM system comes from personal interaction, the sharing of experiences, taking action and recording the results, growing collective knowledge of a group and building new knowledge from the experiences of others. Technology based solely on warehousing knowledge "documents" or best practices are not successful in driving change and improvement in the organization.

It takes resources beyond technology to manage knowledge effectively. Group interactions must be facilitated, results must be archived and reinvested in the knowledge pool and management actions and change must be supported by the organization. Effectively managing and leveraging knowledge in an organization cannot be abdicated to the IT system.

Apply Thoughtful Technology

Organizations have a habit of buying the latest, greatest KM system on the market, if for no other reason than because others have done the same. Yet, elaborate systems that aren't called for tend to breed reluctance. Does the hospital or healthcare organization really need the latest and greatest? When analyzing the implementation of a KM system, first determine what is really necessary to meet the hospital's needs. For instance, take the simple suggestion box. Are the employees making practical suggestions or snide comments? Is the suggestion box readily accessible? Does the hospital culture encourage suggestions and incorporate them into the organization's routines? If so, this is a working and useful KM system. This is when technology can really enhance the system by extending its reach and providing a historical warehouse of implementations. But, when the suggestion box isn't used appropriately, then having the latest, greatest, technologically advanced computer suggestion box won't improve anything. Once again, an organization requires a "learning" culture to value the collaborative learning obtained through KM systems.

Some organizations overcome these obstacles by using technology as a tool instead of as a solution. Technology can enhance knowledge exchange by providing multiple access models (interactive events and data warehouses) and widespread distribution of new and innovative ideas. Thoughtful abstracting and archiving of events and documents enable managers to actively apply lessons learned by others and applies knowledge to their daily work.

Managing Competing Expectations of Users and Administrators

Unless it fills some need and is easily accessible in one's daily routine, a KM system will probably be ignored. Healthcare runs at a hectic pace and staff needs to spend as little time as possible navigating a KM system to obtain useful information. Administrators will not support KM efforts unless they see demonstrated results. Consider the following criteria when weighing the pros and cons of a KM system:

· What is the organization's purpose for the KM system?

· Where is the existing knowledge?

· How is the knowledge transferred?

· Who will have access to the system?

· How will access privileges vary among staff members?

· How will each department use the system?

· How will ideas be exchanged, in-house exclusively or
with other organizations?

· What is the structure of the KM system? Will it just
create directories of experts or will it also create active learning communities (active learning)?

· What amount of support will be required at each level?

· How user-friendly is it?

It never serves an organization to design a system with all the fancy bells and whistles, just for the sake of having slick features. Create a KM system consistent with the way the hospital staff will use it. If the purpose is to inspire employees to think 'outside the box', systems can be designed to facilitate this. The best way to manage competing expectations is to understand it all upfront. The healthcare industry, especially, does not have the bankroll to pay for underutilized features.

Key Components for A Successful KM System:

1. Fulfills organizational goals. A KM system structured around an organization's goals will support the efforts of employees to reach these goals. John Ager, Team Coordinator of the Endoscopy Department for Sentara Healthcare Systems, located in Virginia Beach, Virginia, has participated in monthly teleconference calls with colleagues nationwide. "It is part of my hospital's goal to do benchmarking. This hospital is very strong on sharing information and the previous methods were not effective. Prior to the teleconference calls, we were doing phone communication, which was difficult at best. Now we have set scheduled times on a monthly basis and we just recently picked up using computer-based knowledge."

2. Addresses social networks. If employees feel like they belong to a particular group, then they are more likely to share successes and failures with that group. Sharing failures is especially beneficial to a knowledge management system since people tend to learn more effectively when they're told/shown what not to do. Develop knowledge communities or communities of practice (COP's) around functional and clinical topics. Orchestrate events where staff can share experiences (especially failures) without fear of censure.Collective history of a social network is important. The background information from all participants in a COP builds a shared, historical base, which solidifies commitment to the group process and increases exchanges. "I've really enjoyed the participation," says Ager. "It has really helped me get a better picture of the field I'm in because I'm actually having a one-on-one immediate interaction with somebody as opposed to the old process where you'd have a fixed set of questions you'd e-mail to them. Then, you'd try to call them to get answers or they would fax their answers back to you. It wasn't as clear and concise. This is ongoing and I like the immediate and personal response back," explains Ager.

3. Archives existing knowledge. Create historical records by categorizing and abstracting knowledge gleaned from interactions. Make it easy for users to locate relevant learning. Ager uses his KM system to share documentation prior to the actual teleconference with the other participants. They use spreadsheets and data management for references when talking on the telephone. "I've found this aspect beneficial because as we are talking, I'm able to look at the information firsthand and it spurs questions for me too," says Ager. Additionally, all participants receive e-mail summations of the teleconference (created by the KM system coordinator). Call topics are based on the suggestions and questions introduced in previous teleconferences. If one facility has a specific question, the coordinator will request examples related to this question from all participants, summarize the information and then forward it to all facilities.

4. Facilitates "new" knowledge. Knowledge comes from many sources including knowledge forums, conference calls, research articles, surveys, and opinion polls. Encourage participants to exchange ideas and share experiences, challenges and successes. Most people are not able to develop an action plan simply by reading or analyzing data. Rather, they are more inspired by talking and exchanging ideas. According to Ager, "Participating in the teleconference calls is one of the best ways of sharing information that I've been exposed to in the last nine years since I've been working for this facility. It's given me real time data and real people to talk to. Issues constantly change. At one point, staffing was a priority at several of the facilities and because we shared information, other facilities implemented the shared ideas when it was the right time for them. It's easier than looking at a piece of paper with raw data on it wondering what to do with it."

Moving Forward

The explosion of information technology and its instant accessibility have created powerful solutions for the healthcare business. Healthcare must invest its resources and technology wisely. A carefully considered and well-resourced KM implementation will enable organizations to leverage data, knowledge and experience to improve patient care and lower healthcare costs. Why 'reinvent these conversations' when they've already taken place countless times? KM systems designed to serve an organization's goals, and built to foster social interactions that encourage the exchange of knowledge, will assist organizations in revolutionizing healthcare.

Sidebar: Keys to Generating New Knowledge
Use these ideas when designing a KM system:

· Create Communities of Practice (COP)

· Moderate COP processes to extract learning

· Make continuous learning available

· Determine how successes are shared and how failures are communicated

· Analyze failure for future learning

· Generate, abstract and categorize historical knowledge records

· Provide multiple access paths for participants

Knowledge Management in Healthcare: Succeeding in Spite of Technology

Shelley Burns is director of knowledge management at The Healthcare Management Council Inc., a benchmarking and performance improvement firm in Needham, MA. For more information, call (781) 449-5287 or visit the company web site at

How the Healthcare Industry is Affected by the Economic Recession

The fact that people get sick and need care will not be changed whether there is an economic recession or not. Thus, it can be argued that the healthcare industry is recession proof. In addition to this, the population is currently aging, more obese and prone to unhealthy diets, and demand better healthcare. With this, it is predicted that the demand for healthcare services and healthcare workers in discount landau scrubs will increase exponentially in the next ten to twenty years. However, the issues may not be as easy and as simple as people would like to suppose.

Economic status


Despite a person's economic status, a person will always get sick at some point and need healthcare. However, the question is, with the coming recession and with people tightening their belts and budgets, can people afford healthcare especially since it has increasingly become expensive? During hard times, it is likely that people will put off healthcare as much as possible and prioritize spending for their living expenses and paying off their mortgage loans. Most likely, people will not seek the help of a medical professional unless it is absolutely essential. What this could entail is that while the number of patients who seek care will decrease in number, those who are seeking care will be more often sicker than usual.

How the Healthcare Industry is Affected by the Economic Recession

Health insurance

For those who have health insurance, the recession years bring in higher co-pays, higher out-of-pocket expenses, and higher deductibles, plus changes in the coverage of beneficiaries. These changes will significantly alter the way Americans seek healthcare and thus impact the healthcare providers. Because of the new stringent policies of health insurance companies, people will be more reluctant in seeking healthcare, prioritizing paying the mortgage and buying food over paying for medical bills.

Different reactions

At the beginning of the recession, many people rushed to have surgeries and replacement procedures done, in the possibility of getting laid off and losing their health insurance-taking advantage of it while they still had it. On the other hand, other people forgo going to the doctor or getting checked, in the fear of losing their jobs if they were absent or took the time off from work.

Economic outlook

Thus the economic climate for the healthcare industry is not as peachy as most people would like to declare, and is actually erratic and hard to predict. Some hospitals and clinics have faced financial losses in the economic crisis because of the mention factors. Because of these, some have lain off some staff and others instituted hiring freezes. Still, these downturns are temporary. Those who have cancer, heart disease, chronic diseases, and emergency medical situations will have to seek healthcare whether they can afford it or not and the aging population will also require it. The nursing shortage is still being felt despite the economic crisis. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics estimates that there will be a 23% increase of demand for more registered nurses between 2006 and 2016. The bad news is that before the economy recovers, an estimated 4.2 million Americans could lose their health insurance coverage.

How the Healthcare Industry is Affected by the Economic Recession

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Integrated Healthcare Systems

The world of healthcare is always changing.  When you think back to healthcare and health services back when our parents and grandparents were children and then compare things to healthcare today things are drastically different.  One thing that has changed and developed and also continues to change and develop as we speak is what is called the integrated healthcare systems.  Sometimes also referred to as multi-care providers or multi-care treatment, these systems intend on focusing on convenience for the client or patient and ease of working through the system.  Typically these systems cover a wide area of travel and are operated through multiple levels.  The systems also incorporate many different types of services including medical services and general health and wellness services as well.  The goal is the get you healthy and to keep you that way with this type of integrated system.

A system such as Manhattan Illinois healthcare has many different offices and services connected to it.  There is typically a large hospital that would be the main center and then many other clinics, offices, and even smaller hospitals that feed into and work off of or from the larger hospital.  Patients can visit a doctor in a medical center or office and expect to the same level of service if they visit a different doctor, hospital, or other provider that is within the same integrated healthcare systems.  There is also the benefit of having your medical records contained in the same system so that you don't have as much trouble trying to track down a get your medical records to all your different doctors.


Information is many times also maintained in the integrated healthcare systems information center so that if you visit Monee healthcare instead of another center then your information can be located because it is all consider the same provider.  In a way this is like an umbrella system that covers the patient.  There can be advantages for a patient and the goal of the integrated healthcare system is to make the experience better for both the patient and for the healthcare providers as well.

Integrated Healthcare Systems

This way of providing care for patients is drastically different than how the doctors and nurses may have provided care in the past but one could say that it is an attempt on a large scale to make patients feel similar.  A doctor from Manteno healthcare is not likely to come to your home to provide care but the hope would be that because you are in this network of healthcare and provided quality and uniform care that you may feel somewhat like your father or grandfather felt with the doctor at their home.

Integrated Healthcare Systems

A great website to check out if you are interested in an integrated healthcare system is Riverside Medical Center where you can get a good idea of how the system works and what they offer. You can visit the Manhattan Illinois healthcare [] center or the Monee healthcare [] location or the Manteno healthcare location to get an in person experience and some excellent healthcare as well.

Healthcare Consulting - Discover 4 Remarkable Methods to Become a Healthcare Consultant

If you are thinking about sinking your teeth into the healthcare consulting field, it is a must that you understand what this business is all about.

Healthcare consulting refers to the service that aims to assist hospitals, physicians, and other healthcare providers in the business side of what they are doing. You see, most of these people spend 8-10 years learning how to make a patient well. They know little about running their own clinics or their own hospital. Thus, they usually hire healthcare consultants who can help them in regards to hiring concerns, marketing issues, bookkeeping questions, strategic planning, tying up with other companies, information technology, operations management, governance, etc. Healthcare providers who ignore all these things can be assured that their business will suffer.


Now that you know the role of a healthcare consultant, here's what you need to do to become one:

Healthcare Consulting - Discover 4 Remarkable Methods to Become a Healthcare Consultant

1. Get a degree. You don't need to be a doctor or a nurse just to be a healthcare consultant. What you need is a degree in business in order to effectively help your clients. You may want to get a degree in business marketing, psychology, and business management.

2. Get experience. Most people will not hire you if you don't have relevant experience in this field. So, I recommend that you offer your services for free, at least for the mean time or until you're able to create an impressive portfolio. As you will not charge your clients, you can be assured that you'll easily be able to get these people to sign up. Make sure that you impress them all the way so they will recommend you to other people.

3. Get experience in the healthcare field. You'll become a more effective healthcare consultant if you have an experience in this field. You can apply as a volunteer or work as marketing staff for a physician or to a hospital. The more exposure you get, the better your chances of understanding this field.

4. Communication is the key. Once you were able to get your prospects to sign up, make sure that you get to know their unique needs and demands before you offer recommendations or your ideas. Sit with them and offer them all the time they need. Encourage them to discuss their goals or problems with you in details so you can get a clear picture. Take down all the important elements raised on your conversations and use them as reference later on.

Healthcare Consulting - Discover 4 Remarkable Methods to Become a Healthcare Consultant

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