Over the past 30 years, I’ve been on the front lines of healthcare as sweeping changes have continually reshaped the landscape. Today, new technology and insights are advancing the science of healthcare and revolutionizing how hospitals deliver care. The biggest challenges still lie ahead, but we’re better equipped than ever to address what the future holds.
I began my career immersed in the challenges clinicians and administrators face every day. In my time at Mass Eye and Ear Infirmary and Tufts Medical Center, I worked as a hospital administrator to ensure we provided excellent patient care, while struggling to manage margin goals with limited data and visibility. In the wake of dramatic reimbursement changes in the 1990s, we had to cut costs hospital-wide. While full-time employee (FTE) reductions did occur, we preferred to look for opportunities to improve supply chain efficiency and reduce inventory expenses. However, with each department using their own manual processes to track products, we were left with anecdotes and best guesses. We knew there were significant untapped savings opportunities, but we couldn’t take maximum advantage of them.
The late 1990s brought a wave of innovative new medical devices that called for major operational adjustments. For example, when the FDA approved the first drug eluting stent, we were eager to get this new, expensive device to patients. We knew it would help keep patients out of the OR and bring more revenue and costs to the cardiac cath lab, but we had limited data and tools to predict what it meant to our total cost of delivered care.
Day to day, the real costs of these limitations started hitting home and I was eager to find a better way to serve our patients.