The Highly Productive Cardiovascular Enterprise

Imperatives for Operating at Optimal Efficiency to Safeguard Margins

Learn how to safeguard future CV margins by reducing length of stay, enhancing hospital-based outpatient services, and redeploying available resources to optimize efficiency and productivity.

Executive Summary

Slowing price growth, increasing patient acuity, and the shift to outpatient care require cardiovascular programs to enhance operational efficiency to ensure future prosperity. This study offers 12 imperatives to improve CV margins by reducing length-of-stay, providing care in the lowest-cost setting, and optimizing resource utilization.

CV margins under pressure

Despite a long tenure as a leader in hospital growth and profitability, CV margins are slimming. From 2001 to 2010, Medicare inpatient contribution margins for cardiac and vascular services declined by over 10%; this unfavorable economic trend is only expected to worsen in the years ahead.

To achieve long-term financial success, CV leaders must look beyond immediate gains from managing supply costs, and instead invest in strategies to optimize operational efficiency.

Reimbursement failing to keep pace with rising costs

Response to changing market dynamics

Increasing patient acuity, the outpatient shift, and emergence of new payment models will require CV programs to reduce total costs. The primary opportunities to enhance long-term margins will come from reductions in length of stay and optimizing processes that promote lower-cost outpatient care.

Changing market dynamics will also present new challenges for CV capacity management and workforce planning. Operating at maximum productivity will hinge on appropriate reallocation of resources to meet new demands.

Facing a growing need to rethink use of CV capacity, clinical workforce

Efficient CV care delivery objectives

Amid intensifying margin pressure, CV programs must adopt analytical rigor for creative and efficient resource use. The following aims will help CV programs deliver on this ambition:

  • Adopt a disciplined prioritization approach
  • Reduce inpatient length of stay
  • Enhance hospital-based outpatient services
  • Redeploy available resources

By reading this study, members will learn to:

  • Implement innovative strategies to identify clinical and operational inefficiencies
  • Leverage benchmarks to adjust inpatient CV unit capacity and staffing levels
  • Streamline inpatient care and optimize lower-cost services in the outpatient setting
  • Maximize the value of CV capacity and staff through effective resource allocation

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