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The Journey to Operational Excellence Part 1 - A Marathon

The journey to Operational Excellence (OE) is more of a marathon than a sprint. This understanding has been crucial for senior living organizations considering all we have collectively experienced over the last three years and in our ongoing recovery from the pandemic. Today, many of the issues exacerbated by COVID remain present throughout the business of healthcare with continued impact on labor, census, supply management, care quality, reimbursement, and more.

Focusing on just one of these areas could easily result in quickly becoming overwhelmed. But when you take a step back, and view each area of your business operations, you begin to recognize some commonalities. And what you discover, and actions taken as a result, is what provides the path to make care work easier.

Every day, many healthcare leaders are attempting to track, trend, and report on data that has been collected over time for labor, census, procurement, and care quality. Where is this data housed and who has access? How is it compiled and who is responsible for pulling together all the data sources? When were these reports last updated?

It’s important to note that much of the work involved in tracking down, updating, and reporting on this data is being done manually in senior living organizations today and, in some cases, taking hours to produce a single document or source of truth. I can speak directly to how having many hands with access to a master spreadsheet can make for a challenging survey experience. And preparing to go before surveyors and present your case can be even more challenging. The inability to produce critical files in real time will have direct impact on your survey outcomes.

It's Magic

Reflections on the importance of technology in operations was the focus of a Forbes article, published in August, 2021 How Smart Technology Could Revolutionize the Sr. Living Industry. The author, Dr. Eric George, intentionally called out insights offered by Arthur C. Clarke from his book, published in 1962,Profiles of the Future: An Inquiry into the Limits of the Possible. Dr. George identified one of Clarke’s Three Laws, “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”. And these words resonate today given all the technological innovations that have occurred during the last 60 years.

In my experience, the willingness to adopt innovative technologies and appreciate novel ideas when goal setting in business is essential to realizing your intended outcomes. It is in taking this perspective, and leaning in approach, that healthcare organizations can set themselves apart from their competitors, and radically advance clinical excellence, minimize expenses, and enhance operational efficiencies.

In the coming weeks, this blog is going to take a deep dive into the significance of technology in achieving short- and long-term OE goals. Next time we will discuss how harnessing the power of data as part of your comprehensive labor management practice supports you on your journey to Operational Excellence.


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