New Healthcare CFO Survey Reveals Top 3 Priorities and Dependencies

Healthcare leaders are facing constant pressure to identify and implement sustainable strategies to effectively improve the way they provide services. To keep pace with increasing consumer expectations, new competition, and evolving delivery and payment models, healthcare CFOs are focusing on strategic imperatives.

Kaufman Hall surveyed senior financial executives from more than 160 hospitals, health systems, and other healthcare to gauge the organizational priorities impacting their business outlook for 2019. The new report assesses the progress CFOs are making in addressing significant challenges facing the nation’s healthcare industry and health systems.

The 2019 CFO report identifies the top three healthcare CFO priorities as:

1. Cost reduction
2. Managing changing payment models
3. Improving performance management

Lack of data credibility and transparency sapping CFO confidence

It’s no surprise that cost reduction remains the top priority for healthcare financial leaders in 2019. However, despite the focus, CFOs are losing faith in their ability to manage the necessary changes their organizations need to drive transformation. Poor data credibility and transparency are the primary factors contributing to the drop in executive confidence.

To successfully implement change and achieve progress in these areas, financial executives and their leadership teams need visibility into reliable performance data and analytics. However, for many healthcare systems, reliable financial and operational data is not only cumbersome to extract from the existing infrastructure, ensuring its accuracy is costly in both time and money.

Less than 13% of health system CFOs ready for new payment models

As a consequence of skyrocketing healthcare costs, higher deductibles, and co-payments, the patient as a payer has emerged as the new focal point of healthcare finance. Yet, despite the impact of consumerism on healthcare, according to the new study, only 13% of hospitals, health systems, and other healthcare entity CFOs believe their organizations are “very prepared” to manage evolving payment and delivery models with current financial processes and tools.

The 2019 figure is down from 15% from Kaufman Hall’s previous survey. And although the declines are small, they represent red flags for healthcare financial executives who are battling to improve revenue cycle performance.

CFOs concerned about performance management and reporting

To deliver long-term plans that address critical challenges, healthcare CFOs need timely and accurate insight into their organization’s financial and operational performance. However, the new report’s findings reveal that only 7% of CFOs are very satisfied with the performance management reporting at their organizations.

Access to high-quality performance management processes and tools can provide the robust data, analytics, planning, monitoring, and reporting capabilities needed to inform decision making throughout the organization.

Profitability difficult to measure without an integrated, 360-degree view

CFOs need to look at, monitor, and assess how their business strategy decisions and changes are affecting their organization. However, looking at only one, two, or three key performance indicators (KPIs) is not enough anymore.

“A comprehensive view of performance requires the integration of relevant data from disparate sources and the identification of a manageable number of metrics to track for each initiative within and across dimensions.” — 2019 CFO Outlook: Performance Management Trends and Priorities in Healthcare, Kaufman, Hall, and Associates, 2019

To accelerate transformation, CFOs need visibility across multiple dimensions of their business to include financial performance, patient experience, quality of care and clinical outcomes, operational efficiency, and strategic growth. Yet, according to the report, without access to relevant financial and performance information in a single view, CFOs will struggle to reach improvement targets.

Data insight to inform strategy and enable agility

As new plans are implemented to reach new levels of financial and operational proficiency, accelerate the digital transformation of operations, and allow deeper customer relationships, management teams need to measure the effect the changes are having across the organization. How else will they be able to monitor their progress?

Having access to a single system not only keeps the leadership team informed about progress, but it also reinforces the cross-organizational team’s role in solving critical issues which affect consumer-experience, profitability, and cost management.

“Armed with this information through performance management processes and tools, they then can more appropriately make course corrections for the achievement of strategic objectives.” — 2019 CFO Outlook: Performance Management Trends and Priorities in Healthcare, Kaufman, Hall, and Associates, 2019

Adjust and optimize variables with VisitPay

An accurate understanding of what is occurring informs what changes need to be made. VisitPay’s platform empowers health systems to adjust and optimize countless variables – from billing policies to payment plan terms to patient segmentation configurations – in near real-time.

VisitPay offers the most cost-effective and fastest-to-market patient financial experience solution in healthcare, accelerating and simplifying the patient financial engagement strategies of the company’s growing roster of clients.

VisitPay clients typically report a 30% lift in payment yield and because of VisitPay’s automated capabilities, a dramatic increase in operational efficiency. These results are validated by VisitPay’s ability to provide ongoing measurements of financial plan performance, trended over time, and data-driven insights that align financial policies with the evolving needs of both the health system and patients. Additionally, the platform’s analytics will empower the health system to adjust and optimize variables – from billing policies to payment plan terms to patient segmentation configurations.

Join us at Becker’s Hospital Review 10th Annual Meeting

We’ll be discussing these issues and more at Becker’s Hospital Review 10th Annual Meeting in Chicago. David Kirshner, MBA, CPA, will be leading a session called “Leaders in Financial Health,” providing a CFO perspective to discussions with leaders from Intermountain, Inova and St Luke’s. If you’re interested in what we’re doing at Becker’s, please check out our Patient Financial Health Summit.

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