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systemness in healthcare: the impact of talent on post M&A success.

A cohesive healthcare staffing model can be a game-changer in pulling a healthcare system together.

Randstad Sourceright systemness in healthcare and M&A

| 4 min read |

Healthcare M&A (mergers and acquisition) activity has seen record activity in recent years, before slowing due to COVID-19, as investors delayed planned transactions. Movement is expected to rebound in late 2020 to early 2021, however, as troubled hospitals and physician groups seek to be acquired by larger, more stable health systems and organizations.

This ongoing creation of new and larger health systems has brought about both challenges and opportunities for leadership.

A complex undertaking

Years of healthcare transformation efforts, shifts in payer models and increased digitization provided a platform for continued growth and change. Smaller hospitals were scooped up to expand health system footprints, improve access to quality care and strengthen community outreach efforts. Ambulatory sites and physician practices were added with the goal of building integrated health systems.

Teams and corporate cultures were merged, often without a fully cohesive plan beyond the name change and functional basics. As a result, it’s fair to say that many of today’s health systems operate as SINOs – systems in name only. The individual entities maintain their independence, nuances and habits despite the larger changes.

Achieving systemness  in healthcare

The roadblocks to achieving systemness are significant. A lack of standardization, incompatible technology and EMR systems, and discordant non-clinical practices are all factors to be addressed. In addition to workplace culture and talent management disparities.

Health systems must also evaluate what systemness means in terms of reliability, quality and cost as their economics are challenged. Particularly as the latest EY Global Capital Confidence Barometer shows that the sector is among those being most heavily impacted by the pandemic.

The good news is that shrinking revenue streams, rising expenses and talent shortages can begin to be remedied through better workforce management, supply chain adjustments and new operating models.

What is systemness in healthcare?

Becker’s Hospital Review defines systemness as “a term increasingly used to describe the desired future state of complex healthcare delivery systems — delivering patient-focused, seamless and high-quality care across the many parts of the system to maximize value for customers.”

The Advisory Board identities 4 levels of systemness. Level 1 is about creating an operational advantage:

  • centralizing business functions
    Bringing all hospital, ambulatory and administrative functions under one umbrella creates consistency in the patient experience. The benefits come in standardized quality and safety measures, uniform pricing and reimbursement, coordinated management practices, and a repeatable employee experience.
  • driving supply chain efficiencies
    Consolidating the supply chain across an integrated system of care allows for reduced costs through economies of scale. In terms of staffing, for example, there is the opportunity to gain visibility into all talent suppliers and look for ways to streamline vendor relationships for sourcing, hiring and onboarding clinical and non-clinical employees. Your partners should be those who understand systemness and your goals for achieving Level 1.
  • standardizing non-clinical practices
    Building an experienced multifunctional team that serves the non-clinical needs of all locations and service lines is critical in the journey to systemness. Both IT and revenue cycle are ideally suited as a starting point for restructuring at a system level. The goal is to achieve predictable and reliable results no matter how large the organization is now or will grow to be.

Some systems have not only been able to achieve Level 1, but have moved on to the next phases of (2) clinical advantage, (3) structural advantage and (4) transformational advantage. They’ve done so by establishing a team of executive sponsors, making systemwide operational decisions that benefit the entire organization and effectively communicating change throughout every step of the process. Thus, achieving the elusive goal of being truly integrated. That means better care, better care environments and better access to care, all while lowering the overall cost of that care.

Talent as a system advantage

When the business is fragmented with different practices across the organization, it becomes impossible to optimize for quality, safety and patient satisfaction. Measurable impacts can only take place when supply chains, corporate culture and staffing are aligned.

When looking at staffing, it’s important to remember that employees are both the organization's single greatest cost and its greatest differentiator. Talent is an essential component in the journey toward systemness. Integrated healthcare delivery demands an integrated total talent model to realize the greatest returns.

A cohesive staffing model – one that manages permanent and contingent talent, both clinical and non-clinical – can be a game-changer in pulling a system together. It’s a strategy that can meet many of the C-suite’s goals by:

  • facilitating a team approach to care
  • standardizing hiring procedures
  • eliminating redundancy in staffing
  • driving plans through workforce analytics
  • streamlining the staffing supply chain
  • achieving economies of scale
  • helping to develop a culture of systemness
  • improving the candidate experience

A solution for the future of systemness

We know that successful healthcare organizations require both clinical and non-clinical talent to be effective across all practice areas and service lines. The future of the healthcare industry mandates an enterprise-driven approach to talent.

That’s why Randstad and AMN Healthcare have partnered to deliver a new integrated talent solution that can improve efficiencies and standardize processes throughout an entire health system. From nursing, allied health and clinical support staff to IT, informatics and revenue cycle management – across all employee types including permanent, temp, freelance, contractor, statement of work (SOW) and independent workers. Staffing is a critical step to achieving systemness and system-level goals. Because as with everything in healthcare, success begins and ends with people.

Ready to learn more about integrated talent strategies for healthcare systems? Get your Everest Group report.