20190507 HFI Conf Recap - Conference recap: Healthcare Finance Institute

Conference recap: Healthcare Finance Institute

Sentry Data Systems recently sponsored and attended the International Performance Management Institute’s Healthcare Finance Institute event, held April 7-9 in Phoenix, Arizona. Sentry was pleased to have the opportunity to engage with hospital finance leaders on topics spanning both 340B and analytics and dive deeper into healthcare’s most pressing challenges and more importantly, the solutions.

Setting the tone

To kick off the conference, Sentry’s Head of Industry Relations Lisa Scholz, PharmD, who co-hosted the event, introduced attendees what would be the focus of the three-day event: “Strategic perspectives for successful financial leadership in an evolving healthcare landscape.”

Attendees were then asked to fix the images of the current computer mouse and hand-held devices in their minds. They were asked to think back to when they first started to utilize these devices. Were they the same today as yesterday? Unanimously, the answer was no. A quote from Thomas Jefferson monument in Washington DC reminded attendees of the need to adapt to change: “As new discoveries are made, new truths discovered, and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times.”

There’s no doubt that evolution has consistently been at the forefront of healthcare. While it is painful to evolve, the ultimate outcomes far exceed the challenges and leave us in a better place. As healthcare conversations evolve around financing healthcare for the future, we must have a dialogue and address what is driving us to evolve.

CEO perspective

The CEO panel, led by Scholz, began with level-setting around the trends in healthcare that are driving corporate finance transformation. The executive leaders gave perspectives from both for-profit and not-for-profit views. As moderator, Scholz described four facets that shape healthcare—political, economic, social and technological (PEST).

Scholz asked each member of the panel to share how their organization looked at healthcare financing through the lens of political reform – either regulatory or legislative drivers – and how they advocate for what is best for their community. The answers centered on economic trends including GDP growth, prescription drug pricing, and consolidation and mergers as drivers for change.

This led to a discussion on social trends creating the need for financial change, driven by consumerism, the impact of social determinants of health, and the patient experience. This then flowed into a discussion of how technology is being utilized to provide rapid decision support, utilizing big data to make informed choices with more precision. It was evident that many of the current trends in healthcare will require a need for business analytics beyond spreadsheets, in order to fully leverage machine learning and artificial intelligence in the future.

When the CEO panel was asked to provide insight into how CEOs and CFOs could work together most effectively, they each called for the other to be a strategic, trusted partner that could provide a realistic picture of how best to proceed in a landscape of financial hurdles.

A focus on finance

As the conference continued, revenue cycle management and strategies for moving towards value-based purchasing models took center stage.

Scholz delivered a talk to finance leaders that provided a 50,000-foot view of 340B, discussing the current and potential future landscape. They discussed strategies to better position their hospitals for the compliance, transparency and regulatory challenges that lie ahead. The leaders walked away with a checklist and questions to engage their leadership.

In another panel, two hospitals offered thoughtful perspectives on the value of partnerships that could lead to mergers and acquisitions, as well as the risks involved. The honest conversation focused on the need to make careful, strategic business decisions, and the fact that not every merger or acquisition will be the right fit for your organization.

When attendees were not in scheduled panels and presentation, they engaged in think-tank sessions and business meetings. Sentry took the opportunity to meet with dozens of finance leaders one-on-one and was energized to see the enthusiasm expressed by key financial decision makers on driving their compliance and cost accounting in a new direction.

Final thoughts

The finance leaders in attendance at the event had the opportunity to hear from University of Notre Dame football legend, Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger, namesake of the famous 1993 film from TriStar Pictures. He left the attendees with wise words about staying motivated—even when things seem impossible.

Sentry continues to support its hospital customers amidst the flurry of legislative, administrative, and judicial activity that has taken place this past year and is expected to continue well into 2019. We continue to monitor current and proposed payment models and the impact on the financial wellness of our nation’s healthcare institutions across the country. We encourage our customers to utilize resources provided at the HFI event, continue to network with other hospitals to share ideas, and reach out to Sentry with any challenges you may have as you continue to deliver on your mission.

The fellowship created at this event will undoubtedly lead to the solutions of the future.