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Healthcare executives focus on improving revenue and keeping staff

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Many say they’re worried about the resilience of their workforce, according to a new survey by Sage Growth Partners.

Healthcare leaders are focusing on the three R’s: revenue, recruiting and retention.

Image credit: @ekapolsira - stock.adobe.com

Most healthcare executives say they're worried about improving revenue and staff recruitment and retention, according to a new survey. (Image credit: @ekapolsira - stock.adobe.com)

Those are key findings from a survey of more than 100 healthcare executives released this week by Sage Growth Partners.

More than half (57%) said improving their revenue ranks as their top strategic objective, followed closely by attracting and keeping workers (55%). The survey found reducing costs (46%) ranked third among strategic goals.

Dan D'Orazio, CEO of Sage Growth Partners, said hospital executives continue to focus on the difficult finances of their systems.

“Prior to the crises of the last three years, healthcare executives were already struggling to establish a more resilient workforce and that challenge remains,” D’Orazio said in a statement. “However, we now see an even more immediate need to reduce costs and operating expenses. Combined, this creates a very difficult agenda for the C-Suite.”

The executives cited financial sustainability and lowering healthcare costs as the two greatest challenges facing U.S. healthcare in the next two years (each received 69% from those surveyed). Roughly 3 in 5 executives (61%) surveyed said that the resilience of their workforce remains a top challenge.

Even with signs of the economy improving, a solid majority of healthcare executives (60%) said they think a recession is likely, and many (52%) say they are looking to reduce costs to prepare for the possibility.

At the same time, almost half of the healthcare executives (43%) said their organizations will be increasing their spending on capital expenses in 2024, up from 31% in 2022. Some top targets for new investments include spending on a new electronic medical record system (20%) and artificial intelligence (15%).

Most healthcare leaders said they weren’t satisfied with their EMR systems. Less than a quarter (24%) said they thought their electronic health records matched the billing of their vendors, and more than half (60%) said getting the most out of their EMR system is their top technology initiative.

Most of the healthcare leaders surveyed expressed a fair amount of skepticism regarding AI. A strong majority (71%) said it’s too soon to tell if AI will lead to cost savings. However, 45% say meshing AI with clinical workflows has improved the quality and accessibility of data.

Roughly two-thirds of the executives (65%) said they think their patient populations aren’t as healthy as they were before the COVID-19 pandemic, and that’s up from 52% in 2022.

Only 5% said that they are confident that patients have caught up on delayed healthcare and screenings.

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