Working in the world of hospital consulting is a journey; there’s a lot more to it than meets the eye. Over the years, hospitals have lost a staggering amount of money due to hasty decisions and a lack of preparation when bringing in consultants. The healthcare consulting service market value is projected to reach $76.44 billion by 2029.
It’s a common trap many organizations fall into – getting so caught up in the day-to-day operations that they forget to step back and see the bigger picture. Hospitals are no exception. We often get lost in the weeds of our processes, missing out on critical opportunities for improvement. This is precisely where consultants can be game-changers. They’re equipped with fresh perspectives and a keen eye to spot the underlying issues that aren’t being addressed in the tactical grind.
The Truth About KPI’s
We’ve all heard about the standard KPIs every hospital seems to track, like accounts receivable (AR) days. However, these numbers can be easily manipulated and don’t always reflect the hospital’s financial health. It’s time to dig deeper and identify KPIs that truly matter. We need to explore metrics that can uncover hidden inefficiencies, like patient flow or operational bottlenecks hindering revenue cycle performance.
An Open Mind
Many hospitals are ill-prepared to bring in consultants. They’re often driven by the need to address a pressing issue and rush into hiring without proper preparation. However, a successful engagement requires groundwork. Hospital leaders must be open to the fact that consultants might reveal aspects they hadn’t considered. The initial Statement of Work (SOW) should be meticulously crafted to align with the hospital’s goals and challenges, allowing flexibility as new insights emerge.
Picking a consultant isn’t a simple task. It’s crucial to interview potential consultants, assess their expertise, and evaluate how well they mesh with your hospital’s culture. A good consultant isn’t just someone who points out flaws; they can discuss findings constructively, leading the hospital toward a collaborative solution.
Defining Success & Unlocking Potential
Once you’ve found a great consultant, it’s essential to prepare for one glaring pitfall of many engagements – the lack of clear success criteria. It’s not enough for a consultant to come in, fix things, and leave. Measuring progress should be an integral part of the engagement. Before the project begins, both parties should define success, set up meaningful metrics, and agree on reporting structures. This way, when the engagement ends, there’s an objective yardstick to determine if the project succeeded.
My own experiences have shown me the disastrous consequences of not correctly structuring projects from the get-go. Rushing into initiatives without considering how to measure success can lead to unnecessary challenges. I’ve seen firsthand how poor planning can result in great ideas going to waste simply because we didn’t anticipate the need for comprehensive reporting.
The consulting world isn’t as straightforward as it might seem. It’s not just about identifying problems and providing solutions; it’s about fostering collaboration, anticipating challenges, and measuring outcomes. Hospitals and leaders should approach consulting engagements strategically, preparing themselves for potential revelations and embracing the transformative power of a well-executed consulting partnership.
It’s time to shift from working in the business to working on the business and, in doing so, unlock a wealth of untapped potential.
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