Working together to support improved healthcare outcomes
In every healthcare decision there are often various opinions and views to consider. Introducing new and innovative healthcare technologies, is one such example of a change that involves different stakeholders with varied wants and requirements, both from clinical and non-clinical groups.
Public health organizations are concerned with the health of a population as a whole, while patients, clinicians and hospital management will tend to focus on the benefits that a technology can bring to them individually and the hospital organization. Healthcare management, however, face different challenges as they consider the hospital or clinic in its entirety. Not only do they need to listen to the needs of individual clinicians, often acting in the best interest of their patients, but they must balance this with the overall needs of a healthcare facility as a whole. Budget must be allocated to different departments depending on need and priority, and so spending on a particular new technology, therapy or treatment cannot be thought of in isolation. A large part of the challenge for healthcare directors and management teams comes down to achieving an optimal balance between reaping the benefits that a new technology can bring (both clinically and non-clinically) versus maintaining the current standard of care. For example, what impact will spending a large portion of budget on an innovative paediatric technology have on the available funds for the treatment of the elderly? Or, is it better to prioritize a new treatment for meningitis, when current care options are sufficient, or divert these funds to invest in innovative cancer treatments?
In addition, the sometimes conflicting views of other stakeholders, such as procurement, need to also be considered at the management level. In the case of procurement, cost is key, and so for healthcare managers it can be a challenge to balance conflicting factors and influences while keeping patient care at the heart.
Reimbursement plays a key role at this level to ensure coverage of costs. However, reimbursement policies and processes are complex, with regulations and methods for reimbursement varying in different countries and influenced by different levels of state funding, healthcare centralization and decision-making powers. In fact, reimbursement often poses a barrier to the adoption of new healthcare technologies. As a result of the significant yet vastly complex nature of reimbursement, the healthcare industry is calling out for innovative ways to capture the potential impact of a new technology and combine this with a more fluid, dynamic and simple approach to reimbursement.
Considerations when adopting new and innovative healthcare technologies
When it comes to new technologies, healthcare providers – and in turn patients – are unsurprisingly keen to implement innovative solutions and treatments. There are some key questions that all stakeholders should ask when looking at adopting new solutions that can help with effective procurement, successful technology implementation and ensuring coverage of costs through reimbursement. Working together with medical technology manufacturers can also help simplify the process and therefore help support improved outcomes while still covering costs.