The Future Is Stormy for US Healthcare: Here Are 3 Strategies to Weather It

Ben H.

Hatched by Ben H.

Aug 19, 2023

3 min read


The Future Is Stormy for US Healthcare: Here Are 3 Strategies to Weather It

No question: that won't be easy. US healthcare faces a gathering storm of difficulties, including inflation, labor shortages (particularly of nurses and physicians), and endemic Covid-19. At McKinsey, we believe that all this could add $600 billion in US healthcare expenditures by 2027; $220 billion of that is from Covid-19 alone.

But amidst the storm, there is hope. By reimagining care delivery, leveraging patient feedback, and prioritizing quality measures, the US healthcare system can weather the challenges and emerge stronger than ever.

Reimagine Care Delivery: This isn't optional—it is inevitable, and already happening. As the landscape of healthcare evolves, providers must adapt to meet the changing needs of patients. This means embracing new technologies, such as telemedicine and remote monitoring, to deliver care more efficiently and effectively. By leveraging digital tools, healthcare providers can reach more patients, reduce costs, and improve patient outcomes. Additionally, implementing value-based care models can incentivize providers to focus on preventive care and holistic patient wellness, rather than just treating acute illnesses.

One way to ensure that care delivery is meeting patient needs is by incorporating patient perspectives into the evaluation process. The HCAHPS (Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems) Survey is a valuable tool in this regard. It is the first national, standardized, publicly reported survey of patients' perspectives of hospital care. By collecting feedback from patients, hospitals can identify areas for improvement and make data-driven decisions to enhance the patient experience.

Moreover, the HCAHPS Star Ratings provide a simple format for consumers to compare hospitals and make informed choices about their healthcare. These star ratings summarize all survey responses for each HCAHPS measure, allowing consumers to easily identify hospitals that excel in healthcare quality. By highlighting excellence in healthcare quality, the HCAHPS Star Ratings incentivize hospitals to prioritize patient satisfaction and improve their overall performance.

Incorporating quality measures into the healthcare system is crucial, not only for patient satisfaction but also for financial incentives. CMS's Hospital Value-Based Purchasing (Hospital VBP) program links a portion of IPPS hospital payment from CMS to performance on a set of quality measures. The HCAHPS survey is the basis for the Person and Community Engagement (PCE) domain, which accounts for 25% of a hospital's Hospital VBP Total Performance Score (TPS). By prioritizing quality measures, hospitals can not only provide better care but also secure better financial outcomes.

In conclusion, the future may be stormy for US healthcare, but with the right strategies, providers can weather the challenges and emerge stronger. Reimagining care delivery, leveraging patient feedback through tools like the HCAHPS survey, and prioritizing quality measures are actionable steps that providers can take to navigate the storm. By embracing innovation, focusing on patient satisfaction, and delivering high-quality care, the US healthcare system can build a resilient future for all.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Embrace digital tools and telemedicine to enhance care delivery and reach more patients.
  • 2. Incorporate patient feedback through surveys like HCAHPS to identify areas for improvement and enhance the patient experience.
  • 3. Prioritize quality measures to not only provide better care but also secure better financial outcomes through programs like Hospital VBP.

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