Are you working at a hospital or healthcare system under financial pressure? Are financial challenges impacting your ability to maintain quality and patient safety? According to a 2019 study¹ based on New York State health data: “Strong financial performance is associated with improved patient reported experience of care, the strongest component distinguishing quality and safety. These findings suggest that financially stable hospitals are better able to maintain highly reliable systems and provide ongoing resources for quality improvement.”
In today’s challenging financial environment, healthcare organizations need finance to be present and integrated into its decision-making processes to ensure better patient outcomes. But those working in healthcare quality and safety may be asking, “What do these models for partnerships with the finance team look like. How do they work?”
I have known many financial leaders in healthcare organizations over the course of my career and found that they share a common mission with quality and safety professionals focused on improving quality care and patient safety. That is vital to a successful collaboration.
Working as a team allows us to learn from one another as we strive for positive outcomes. Partnering with finance can bring to light the cost of clinical decisions that impact quality improvement and patient safety. Both quality outcomes and cost efficiencies are to be considered when committing to new processes.
This can also be a great experience for financial leaders to understand how financial decisions impact the quality of care delivery. At the same time, we need to respect the expertise that each individual brings to the team, including being open to new perspectives on what is necessary to reach positive outcomes.
At my organization, we are able to use financial information in our scorecards and provide this information to our physicians. They, in turn, can benchmark their own costs, see how it impacts their cases, and benchmark against their own progress, other physicians, and the database we subscribe to. It also impacts our work with our contracting department; we can help select measures and metrics within quality that work best for us.
Financial decisions impact the delivery of care and, subsequently, the quality of healthcare delivery. Let’s join together to bring the highest level of quality to the community members we serve.
Nidia Williams, PhD, MBB, CPHQ, FNAHQ
¹Akinleye, D; McNutt, L; Lazariu, V; McLaughlin, C. 2019, accessed March 2023, Correlation between hospital finances and quality and safety of patient care | PLOS ONE
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