The proverb “necessity is the mother of invention” is easy enough to comprehend. Countless examples of humankind’s resourcefulness are chronicled in written history and recent transformative events, which we have all experienced firsthand. When change is the only option, smart, creative people rise to meet the challenge.
The COVID-19 pandemic forced companies across the planet to adopt a virtual workforce strategy, one which was implemented almost overnight.
For many industries, the successful transition brought new operational realities to the forefront. As a result, as we enter 2023, every service-oriented company should be prepared to answer three major questions:
- Prior to the pandemic, what held back change in the organization — was it typical human aversion to change or something completely unforeseen?
- How did we take advantage of the new reality?
- How do we help customers meet the challenge of the new reality?
Today, a significant segment of the healthcare industry has new remote work standards. Key leadership roles, which previously were considered off limits to remote execution, are now successfully handled not only off-site, but from anywhere in the world. In many cases, the shift to remote working has spawned newly-realized efficiencies, boosted productivity, and expanded access to a global pool of talented professionals.
Recent reporting indicates that a majority of non-clinical healthcare workers who made the transition to working remotely during the pandemic will maintain that status. Mass adoption of collaborative platforms, such as Zoom and MSFT Teams, has assuaged the fear among managers that the loss of daily office interaction would lead to a loss of control and a resultant drop in performance and productivity. At the same time, across the business landscape, the high value of work-life balance and flexibility enabled by allowing employees to work remotely is now widely acknowledged.
Over the past dozen years, Harmony has served every type of health system, hospital, and medical group across the 48 contiguous states. Our success rests on the unique ability to deliver on-demand expert professionals, no matter how specialized the skill or scarcity of available talent, and to anticipate and evolve in accordance with changing market conditions.
In 2022, Harmony’s fastest growing service offering was population health. Within that domain, the most in-demand area of expertise was case management. The primary driver of this trend was a pre-existing tight labor market, which was further exacerbated by the pandemic. Today, many utilization review and case management departments are forced to choose between paying unprecedented premiums for contract labor, trying to improve performance using existing, inadequate resources, or doing nothing.
Hospital care coordination functions are too important to the goals of healthcare to ignore and will only be amplified by value-based healthcare expansion. Paying a premium versus doing nothing is not a viable option. The five-year forecast of the US nursing labor market is historically alarming. The previous warning signs have sounded alarms during the recent public health emergency. More than a year later the cost remains high, and available case management talent is scarce. The point of necessity being “the mother of invention” has been reached. Innovation is not only necessary, but imperative.
Harmony has been exploring innovative ideas with clinical experts driven by a shared desire to improve delivery of care coordination services. In December, after months of discussion and dozens of small group trainings, we launched a proof of concept for a new service model called Dynamic Case Management.
While the sample size is small, the concept is real-world verified. Dynamic Case Management improves performance and lowers costs for hospitals. Over time, we believe this innovative approach to care coordination will become the standard.
We believe the cause is righteous. We seek discussions with early adopters and skeptics alike. We know iterative improvement is possible by making logical adjustments and we believe transformation is possible for organizations that make a commitment to change. Contact us to learn more about this fresh approach to delivering care coordination services.
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