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Think less about cost reduction and more about value to improve healthcare productivity

Panel of experts discuss unlocking value in healthcare and reimagining productivity through new perspectives.

In a recent webinar, experts discussed unlocking value in healthcare and reimagining productivity through new perspectives. This was part of the Strasys “Thinking Differently” series aimed at addressing urgent healthcare challenges. The session, chaired by Mark Jennings, Chief Solutions and Services Officer, Strasys UK and MENA, highlighted the need to focus on value rather than merely reducing costs.

Mark Jennings

Mark Jennings
Chief Solutions and Services Officer, Strasys

Defining Productivity by Value

Mark Jennings emphasised that productivity in healthcare should be defined by value and not just outputs. He pointed out that the NHS Long Term Workforce Plan predicts the need for a significant increase in staffing due to rising demand, despite heavily optimistic assumptions of productivity growth at twice the levels achieved over the decade before the Pandemic. He criticized the NHS’s over-reliance on Cost Improvement Plans (CIPs), which, although necessary for balancing budgets in the short term, have not led to long-term improvements. He pointed instead to the idea of productivity prescriptions based on an understanding of actual patient and population need, and a reshaping of services to meet those needs.

Prof Sir Muir Gray
Director of Oxford Value and Stewardship Programme

Addressing Waste in Healthcare

Prof Sir Muir Gray, Director of OVSP (Oxford Value and Stewardship Programme), a value-based healthcare expert, identified two major issues: unwarranted variation and inequity. He urged us to think less about cost reduction and more about waste reduction, explaining four types of waste in healthcare: waste left after a job has been done; waste due to low productivity and efficiency; waste when interventions do not achieve outcomes that matter or do more harm than good; waste due to opportunity costs where waste is the use of resources that would produce more value if used for another purpose for that sub-group of the population. Addressing all four is crucial for creating value-based healthcare. Sir Muir outlined five steps to achieve this: adopting a population approach, developing systems for subgroups, optimising personal value decisions, delivering equitable value through networks, and fostering a culture of stewardship.

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Clare Wilson
CFO, Cheshire and Mersey Integrated Care Board

Financial and Clinical Teams Working As One

Claire Wilson, CFO, Cheshire and Merseyside Integrated Care Board and President of the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) discussed the challenges and opportunities for NHS productivity. Claire argued that new integrated care systems present opportunities to drive value through collaboration. She emphasised the importance of a collective vision and the need to measure the right things to motivate clinical and operational teams. Her presidential theme for the HMFA is working as one, and she has made a call to arms for the profession to focus on working as one across organisations, professional boundaries and across the wider profession to support the challenges faced.

John Grinnell
Managing Director and CFO, Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust

A Compelling Vision

John Grinnell, Managing Director/CFO, Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, focused on the importance of a holistic workforce strategy in driving productivity. He shared how his organisation worked with Strasys to understand spending, identify value, and create a needs-based vision. This consumer-focused approach improved staff morale and led to significant productivity benefits. John stressed the importance of a compelling vision, consistent evidence-based decisions, and nurturing staff.

Dr Dilshaad Ali
Group CEO, Hoan My Medical Group

International Perspective: Vietnam's Digital Healthcare Revolution

Dr Dilshaad Ali, Group Chief Executive Officer, Hoan My Medical Group, provided an international perspective from Vietnam. He highlighted the country’s high internet penetration and digital technology use, which have improved healthcare accessibility. Dr Dilshaad discussed the importance of developing an omnichannel approach and the need for continuous talent development through partnerships and digital platforms.

A unified call to action

Key Takeaways:
• Focus on value rather than just productivity.
• Use appropriate metrics to engage and motivate staff.
• Ensure initiatives reduce the current burden on staff.
• Foster constant innovation and a collaborative approach.

This webinar underscored the importance of redefining productivity in healthcare by emphasising value, addressing waste, and fostering collaboration and innovation.

Watch the webinar for further insight from the speakers, including a Q&A session.

Future directions

“Thinking Differently” represents a seminal effort in the quest to address the complex challenges facing healthcare workforce management. Strasys and its NHS partners are at the forefront of this initiative, offering a beacon of hope and a roadmap for other organisations to follow. By fostering a culture of innovation, empathy, and strategic insight, the series not only aims to solve immediate issues but also to inspire a shift towards more effective healthcare systems worldwide.

As the series progresses, participants and observers alike are invited to attend future webinars, which promise to delve deeper into the multifaceted aspects of healthcare management. Through shared knowledge and collaborative effort, the “Thinking Differently” series aspires to catalyse change, improve healthcare delivery for patients, and create more fulfilling work environments for staff.

Further Reading: 

  • New podcast – In conversation with Prof Sir Muir Gray and Dr Nadeem Moghal on the topic of value in healthcare.
  • Case Study – read more about the programme of work at Alder Hey
  • News – read more about Hoan My Medical Group

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