I recently had the pleasure of attending the Tennessee Hospital Association’s annual conference, where I moderated a panel called, “Challenges of a Hospital CFO.” I was joined by two fantastic hospital CFOs, Adam Hopper of Methodist North Hospital and Benjamin Cunningham of The University of Tennessee Medical Center. Both Adam and Benjamin graciously shared personal anecdotes and insights about the challenges they face as financial executives in the hospital industry. Although COVID has become less of a news headline in recent months, its impact still lingers – especially on a hospital’s staff and bottom line.
Here are some key takeaways I had from this year’s conference.
Final Thoughts – Investing in Tech Isn’t an ‘Option’ Any More
Hospital teams clearly have much on their plates, even as the worst days of COVID are (hopefully) behind us. But implementing cost-cutting tactics has become increasingly imperative in the wake of the pandemic, driven by extremely high burnout rates and major staffing issues. Hospitals are more open to investing in technology to help their teams too, but only if they can first address their staffing and financial concerns. And, as a former hospital executive myself, I totally get that. But the fact is, technology investments aren’t optional anymore. Even in our own surveys of physicians nationwide, 83 percent said technology to automate administrative work would help improve productivity.
So, my advice to hospitals is simple: now is the time to give technology and automation a chance. Even in the world of automating physician contract and payment processes – the segment my company Ludi focuses on – when hospitals introduce automation here, they typically see a major reduction in administrative burden on their teams and a 5-6x ROI on their initial investment. Hospitals need to make these and other kinds of tech investments now if they have any hope of chipping away at and counteracting the forces driving down their margins.