By Tim Susterich, chief provider network strategy and contracting officer, HealthBridge Financial, Inc.
Though healthcare CFOs still occupy a traditional role in many organizations, the role has significantly expanded in recent years. No longer can a CFO of a major healthcare system simply focus on cash flow, financial planning and balancing the books. Today, the role must be more strategic and visible, both inside and outside the organization.
Here are three ways a modern healthcare CFO can add more value to his or her organization.
1. Be More Visible
Visibility within the organization is critical. Today’s CFO can’t be holed up in her office. She must be more visible, walking the hallways, meeting people and taking her leadership outside of the finance department. From physician network teams and registration/scheduling to telemedicine and population health departments, the CFO must take an active role to ensure she has her pulse on what is going on, always with an eye to ensuring that patients have access to quality, affordable care throughout the system.
Healthcare today is broader than the four walls of the hospital. Its reach includes the emergency room, the physician’s office, the home, and the community. Because the CFO often weighs in on where money is best spent, the CFO needs to have visibility to every aspect of the system. The CFO can play a critical role in helping deliver the best healthcare experience for a health system’s patient population.
2. Focus on Community Health
Health systems are a community asset and sometimes even the crown jewel of the community. A dynamic CFO works with community leaders to ensure that the healthcare needs of the community are being met. Much work has been done around the Social Determinants of Health, so we know that where people live, learn, work, and play affects a wide range of health and quality-of life-risks and outcomes. Being ever-present and building strong bridges to the community can preserve or even grow market share. But most of all, it can lead to better clinical outcomes, with happier and healthier patients. Community involvement allows people to have frequent positive experiences with their local healthcare system, which ultimately supports the system’s success and competitive advantage.