Healthcare's Future: Strategic Investment in Technology

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Abstract

SUMMARY

Recent and rapid advances in the implementation of technology have greatly affected the quality and efficiency of healthcare delivery in the United States. Simultaneously, diverse generational pressures—including the consumerism of millennials and unsustainable growth in the costs of care for baby boomers—have accelerated a revolution in healthcare delivery that was marked in 2010 by the passage of the Affordable Care Act.

SUMMARY

Against this backdrop, Maryland and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services entered into a partnership in 2014 to modernize the Maryland All-Payer Model. Under this architecture, each Maryland hospital negotiates a global budget revenue agreement with the state's rate-setting agency, limiting the hospital's annual revenue to the budgetary cap established by the state.

SUMMARY

At Atlantic General Hospital (AGH), leaders had established a disciplined strategic planning process in which the board of trustees, medical staff, and administration annually agree on goals and initiatives to achieve the objectives set forth in its five-year strategic plans. This article describes two initiatives to improve care using technology. In 2006, AGH introduced a service guarantee in the emergency room (ER); the ER 30-Minute Promise assures patients that they will be placed in a bed or receive care within 30 minutes of arrival in the ER. In 2007, several independent hospitals in the state formed Maryland eCare to jointly contract for intensive care unit (ICU) physician coverage via telemedicine. This technology allows clinical staff to continuously monitor ICU patients remotely.

SUMMARY

The positive results of the ER 30-Minute Promise and Maryland eCare program show that technological advances in an independent, small, rural hospital can make a significant impact on its ability to maintain independence. AGH's strategic investments prepared the organization well for the transition in 2014 to a value-based payment system.

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