Four Areas of Organizational Focus to Navigate COVID-19

By John Lynch, MBA | Chief Executive Officer | April 21, 2020

COVID-19 continues to affect our lives daily. As the CEO of a healthcare management consulting company I feel the pains of other organizations in the healthcare industry. Our clients managing hospitals and physician practices are navigating through uncharted waters. Every one of our clients’ situations are unique depending on the type of services they provide.

Some clients are staffing up and adjusting to a larger volume of patients experiencing the symptoms of the Coronavirus. Others are having to furlough staff because their core business is based on elective procedures or surgeries. Many clients are still preparing for how COVID-19 might affect them as their state has experienced few cases to date. However, every one of our clients is experiencing financial challenges, social distancing concerns, and anxieties with keeping staff safe and healthy.

My heart has been heavy for our clients and for the vast number of healthcare organizations across our country. Healthcare leaders must continue assessing and navigating through this pandemic without a historical roadmap to learn from. And many leaders are now doing this from home. I am doing the same as I work with our clients locally and in other states.

I am also highly focused on similar trials for John Lynch & Associates and our team is finding solid success with our strategic approach. Using our team’s many years’ experience in the healthcare and information technology industries we developed four strategic areas of focus to help guide your organization. We hope our strategic points will provoke thought and help healthcare leaders refocus efforts to bring immediate and future successes for their organizations.

  • Your Finances – Continue to evaluate and make adjusts as necessary to your financial situation. Most organizations have applied for and received the governments’ CARES Act relief funding. Continue to monitor new relief opportunities as the Whitehouse focuses on our economy.
    • Have regular conversations about your organization’s sustainability, knowing that they could turn into discussions about your survivability.
    • Know your resources and options to guide your organization through these financial challenges. Stay proactive in these efforts.
    • Assess the need for additional funding.
    • Assess ongoing financial risks continually.
    • Immediately and continually assess your revenue cycle management processes.
    • Determine what is needed now to effectively collect revenue later.
    • Evaluate systemic risks and continue to mitigate quickly.
    • Adjust quickly to workflow changes to ensure your systems are helping you financially and not hurting your revenue opportunities.
    • Acquire outside help quickly where needed.
    • Evaluate your supply chain continually.
    • Find new ways to reach patients; strengthen your relationships and increase brand awareness.
    • COVID-19 will diminish soon so also be best prepared for new growth opportunities.
  • Your Employees – Protect your employees’ wellbeing and meet their basic needs. They are and always will be your greatest asset and they will implement the road to your organization’s success.
    • Continually build trust and make yourself available to your team.
    • Communicate with your team so they know the strategic initiatives and how they can support organizational efforts.
    • Provide a stable work environment for your staff.
    • Always display compassion by meeting your providers and clinical staff at their place of need (e.g. financial, social, career, community).
    • Be a leader of hope. Be steadfast in how you lead and speak optimistically while leading optimistically.
    • Lead your organization with intention. Stay organized yourself so that this becomes possible.
    • Don’t lose site of cybersecurity as many organizations have employees now working from home.
  • Your Community – Serve your community by finding ways to help others now, when they need it most. Many patients are living in fear and need a helping hand they can trust. Patients want to know you care, are available to them, and will meet their needs compassionately.
    • Let your patients know you are there to support them in this time of need. Getting “inside their shoes” and providing empathy toward their situation will help you provide better quality care and serve them best.
    • Provide public information on the changes your organization is making to keep them safe as they come in for healthcare services.
    • Provide outreach through media outlets, social media, email and phone. Communication is key to ensuring you retain your patients and understand their emergent and long-term needs. However, be sure to communicate right – providing disinformation will only create confusion and increase anxiety.
    • Always error on the side of providing high quality patient care.
  • Your Future – Keep in mind that we are experiencing a world-wide pandemic that no one has experienced before. Keeping your organization financially viable while continuing to serve patients is not easy. Learn now from your contingency plans. Ask yourself and your team, “What is working?” “What is not working?” “How can we make quick adjustments for greater success?”
    • Continually document what you’re learning as your providers, administrators and clinical staff navigate through these challenges.
    • Reach out and learn from others. Get feedback from staff and reach out to other healthcare organizations to find out what is working for them.
    • Reach out to your community to discover what they are experiencing. How do they view your organization during this time?
    • Enhance what is working and apply it to other areas of your organization.
    • When the dust settles examine the pros and cons of your contingency plans. Eliminate, revise or redevelop what did not work.
    • Plan for post-COVID-19 life. As the healthcare world works to create a new “normal,” employers will need to ramp up staffing. Be prepared to hire the right employees quickly and meet the needs of your organization.

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