Neurosciences, while a high priority at most hospitals, is still a relatively new service line. For many neuroscience administrators, resources supporting their wide range of responsibilities have often been difficult to find in a single, centralized place.
One of our members recently alerted us to a new resource geared toward neuroscience administrators, and it we've deemed it useful enough to share. To better meet the needs of this burgeoning group of service line leaders, the American Academy of Medical Administrators is developing the “American College of Neuroscience Administrators.”
The American College of Neuroscience Administrators (ACNA) will provide opportunities for networking and professional development to service line administrators focused on “neurosurgery and neurology, involving stroke, PMR (including acute rehab), sleep medicine, ortho (spine), rheumatology, neuro-oncology, epilepsy, Parkinson’s, neuro-psychiatry, EEG-EMG, otolaryngology and related concerns.” As the group builds its membership, it may eventually begin offering credentialing and advancement opportunities. Ultimately, the group’s proposed mission is “to advance excellence in neuroscience leadership through individual relationships, multi-disciplinary interaction, ongoing education and active engagement.” For many neuroscience service line administrators, this may be a welcome resource to provide support for leading one of the fastest-growing service lines.
Networking, professional development opportunity for neuroscience service line administrators
Neuroscience service lines represent a comprehensive continuum of care—including neurological and neurosurgical services—that will be increasingly important as the population ages (the number of people over 65 is projected to grow 38% across the next decade). This demographic growth positions neurosciences as a strong future contributor to hospital financial performance, as prevalence rates of age-dependent neurologic conditions like stroke, movement disorders, and memory disorders are undergoing considerable growth.
According to the Advisory Board’s Inpatient Market Estimator, inpatient volumes for these services totaled 2.6 million in 2010 (approximately 7% of all inpatient volume). Neuroscience volumes are forecast to grow to 2.8 million in 2015, and approximately 3 million in 2020 (12% growth from 2010). Hospital outpatient department volumes are expected to grow from 3.3 million in 2010 to 3.5 million in 2015. Volume-wise, neuroscience service lines sit in the middle of the service line pack, but these service lines garner per case contribution profits that rival those of other specialties.
Indeed, the question that hospitals will face is not how to grow neuroscience volumes, but how to manage volumes of these increasingly complex populations.
The case for comprehensive neuroscience service lines
Service lines may opt to develop clinical research programs for a variety of reasons, chief among them as a means to advance bedside science. Research programs may also enable service lines to better achieve business goals; for example, serving as a way to justify branding as an institute.
One member recently asked us to enumerate the financial justification for pursuing clinical research programs. Beyond the clinical benefits that such programs may yield, we believe there are at least six ways that such programs generate value:
- Physician recruitment and engagement
- Brand recognition and reputation
- Chance for additional volume capture
- Grants and research funding
- Commercialization of studies
- Philanthropy with meaning
Assessing the benefits of incorporating clinical research into service lines