Guest byline by Doug Coombs director, healthcare strategy, for RES.
The healthcare industry is facing an uncertain future. Governments, employers and patients are putting pressure on healthcare providers to reduce prices even as costs continue to increase. While hospitals differ in size, specialty and many other variables, it will often be an ongoing commitment to operational efficiency that will differentiate successful providers from those that fail. Increased operational efficiency can improve the fiscal health of a hospital by improving its adherence to medical standards and improving its patient satisfaction scores.
One change that can dramatically increase operational efficiency is to simplify complex, frustrating, and outdated IT systems and replace them with processes that maximize usability, reach, and speed. The healthcare industry, like many others, is becoming increasingly reliant on computer technologies both in patient treatment and day-to-day operations. It is vital that these IT systems help, not hinder, a hospital’s commitment to operational efficiency.
Hospitals are predicted to undergo massive shifts in the near future. David Houle and Jonathan Fleece estimate that one-third of all hospitals in the United States will close or be reorganized into another kind of healthcare provider by 2020.  A range of factors are expected to contribute to this shakeup, from the exorbitant cost of healthcare in the United States to patient dissatisfaction with inefficient service and long wait times at hospitals. In no uncertain terms, it is a critical time for the well-being of these healthcare organizations.