By Stephen Tweed, CSP
As I speak at home health care association conferences and corporate meetings across the US, I frequently hear the complaint from free standing agencies that the hospitals in their local marketplace have their own home health agency, and that "all the patients go to the hospital's own agency." Based on my experience with hospital based agencies, including being the interim President and CEO of a very large home health agency that was a department of a hospital, I have always questioned that complaint.
Some time ago, I was working with a hospital based agency and we conducted some focus groups with discharge planners in their system hospitals. I was surprised how little these discharge planners really knew about their own home health agency, and what their hospital was doing to reduce readmissions and length of stay. These discharge planners and their supervisor were adamant about providing patients freedom of choice, and giving them a list of other agencies in the local marketplace
Despite this frequent complaint across the industry, we did not have any data to know what the real facts are. Now we do!
Rich Chesney and his team at Healthcare Market Resources have conducted a study of 2009 Medicare data to examine the specific home health agencies that each patient went to from each hospital. He was able to identify "high market share hospitals" in each state. Rich defines "high market share hospitals" as those hospitals "which refer to a dominant
home health agency. A dominant home health agency is defined as an
agency which receives 70 % or more of business from that hospital during
the given year."
You can see the list of states and what percent of hospitals fall into this category. You can also get a report that is specific to your local marketplace, showing the hospitals, and the dominant home health agencies to which they refer.
As many of you know, I'm a bit of a data junky, and I like to make strategic decisions based on good information supported by data. I've found that the data provided by Healthcare Market Resources to be a very valuable tool to help you in your home health and hospice strategic business planning process.
Take a look. Then let us know what you think.
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Tuesday, June 12, 2012
Relationships @ Work
By Elizabeth Jeffries, RN, CSP, CPAE
By Elizabeth Jeffries, RN, CSP, CPAE
It was a business function and our host was about to introduce me to a person who was sitting down behind me. As I moved in closer to say hello, she turned, realized we had met before, reached eagerly for my hand and said, “I remember you! We were at a meeting together and you were so creative! You had so many great ideas!”
Creative! Many years ago, I thought that was the last word people would have used to describe me…till I went on a mission to understand and increase my creative problem solving abilities. I believed that somewhere in the depths of my mind and spirit was lurking a creative genius just waiting to be released! I could learn other things. Why not creativity? So I simply set out to learn how to be more creative and solve problems differently.
And so can you!
It’s true that some people are more naturally creative than others, but recent psychological and neurological research has found that almost everyone has the capacity to be creative. But we’ve become creatures of habit, locked in boxes of routines and engrossed in ‘getting things done.’ Not much room for creative genius here.
Today’s workplace needs continuous creativity from everyone to serve patients and staff and meet the demands of a competitive marketplace. There are some surprisingly simple tricks that can help all of us boost our creativity. Here are 3 ideas from Jonah Lehrer, author of Imagine: How Creativity Works, followed by 5 tips from my own learning.
- Think blue. The color we’re surrounded with when we want creative thinking has a dramatic affect on our outcomes. A study published in Science found that test subjects doubled their creative output when placed in a room painted blue rather than one painted red. Apparently the human mind associates blue with relaxing images, such as clear skies and calm seas. A relaxed state of mind is crucial for creative thinking.
- Travel ‘across the pond.’ Spending time in foreign lands and other cultures seems to significantly boost creativity. A 2009 study by the graduate business school, Kellogg School of Management, found a strong correlation between time previously spent abroad and success with a challenging problem. For example, Ruth Handler, wife of an executive at Mattel, was on vacation in Switzerland when she spotted the doll that would inspire Mattel to create Barbie in 1959. From that observation, she convinced her husband that the company should create a doll that looked like an adult, not just baby dolls. And Barbie was born. If Handler had known that the doll that inspired her was a popular sex symbol in Switzerland, she would have rejected it as tasteless and Barbie might never have been born!
- Replace brainstorming sessions with debate. A cardinal rule of brainstorming is that criticism is not allowed. But it turns out we don’t fully engage with ideas when we’re not allowed to criticize them. A study by a psychologist at UC Berkeley found that when traditional brainstorming is replaced by idea-generation sessions that allow criticism and debate, the number of ideas produced by the group surges by about 25%.
And a few ideas from our own experiences and resources:
- Read unrelated books and articles on subjects that will stimulate your thinking. They will generated ideas you can transfer over to other areas of your life. As I coach executives today, I’m amazed how often the nursing process I learned many years ago is perfect for solving all kinds of business problems.
- Feed your brain with foods to stimulate creativity and thinking. High-protein foods, including nuts and beans, contain tyrosine and help you feel more alert. Lots of ideas and need to focus better? Eat carbohydrates like bread, pasta and cookies. (My favorite idea.) Brain Toniq is a new drink I just read about. It’s said to clear brain fog and stimulate creativity. It supposedly packs an undeniable punch of herbs, natural compounds and organic agave syrup.
- Observe and play with children. They are masters at discovery and imagination. They have unlimited boundaries and can help you expand yours.
- Deviate from your normal patterns and see life differently. Retrain your brain to think differently by driving a new route to work, sit in a different chair at that staff meeting, move to a different pew at church.
- Take risks and explore new things you haven’t tried before. Two of the most fun things I’ve done as an adult that expanded my world were to take a series of tap dance lessons and voice lessons. I didn’t perform on Broadway, but it stretched me and was great fun!
Play with these ideas. They’ll help you unlock your brain power and get the neurotransmitters in your brain talking to each other. The more you are ‘in action,’ the more your ideas come. The more you act like a creative person, the more you will unlock your brain power. So why not take action on a few of these ideas?
It’s what leaders do!
Elizabeth Jeffries, RN, CSP, CPAE is an award winning professional speaker, author, and executive coach. She is a principle in the firm of Tweed Jeffries, LLC, the parent company of Leading Home Care. She can be reached at 502-339-0653, or at www.tweedjeffries.com.
Posted by Stephen Tweed at 1:21 PM
Stephen Tweed, CEO of Leading Home Care will be presenting at two home care & hospice association conferences in the month of July. He hopes to see you there.
If he is in your neighborhood, please let us know if we can be of service to you and your home health agency or hospice.
Oklahoma Association for Home Care
July 10, 2012
Oklahoma City, OK
Stephen will be presenting the opening keynote address, following by a leadership development track:
- "Navigating the FOG of Health Care Reform"
- "The Top Ten Competencies of Highly Effective Home Care Leaders"
Home Care Association of Florida
July 24, 25, 26, 2013
Stephen Tweed has been invited to play a major role in the content of this annual conference, presenting the following programs:
- "On a Clear Day ... You can see Tomorrow.
- "Why in the World would Anyone want to work for YOU?"
- "Serve more Clients: Strategies for sales, marketing, and public relations in Private Duty Home Care"
- "Successful Home Care from the Consumer Perspective."
- "Principles of Strategic Planning for Home Health, Hospice, and Private Duty Home Care."
Posted by Stephen Tweed at 11:30 AM