3 Key Takeaways from the NAMSS 2017 Conference
Last week, medical services professionals (MSPs) gathered at The Broadmoor in scenic Colorado Springs to advance their careers during the 41st National Association Medical Staff Services (NAMSS) Educational Conference and Exhibition. The 2017 conference theme, “New Heights and New Horizons,” not only reflects the changing environment of the medical staff profession, but also the new era of the professional organization. At the closing of Monday morning’s keynote presentation, NAMSS President Susan DuBois revealed a rebranded logo along with the new tagline: “Education. Advocacy. Patient Safety.” The succinct tagline captures the essence of the critical role MSPs hold in healthcare organizations as the gatekeepers of patient safety.
The following represent my top three takeaways from this year’s NAMSS conference.
1. Kay Frances’ Insights on Managing Stress in a Changing Environment
With a focus on protecting patients and ensuring quality care, MSPs can experience considerable levels of stress, especially as they face significant changes brought by the evolving healthcare landscape. NAMSS keynote speaker and professional stand-up comedian Kay Frances offered attendees a valuable lesson on managing this aspect of their careers. She is also author of the book, The Funny Thing About Stress: A Seriously Humorous Guide to a Happier Life.
Change can be a key stressor for MSPs, but it doesn’t always have to be negative. “People who are successful in work and in life are good at adapting to change,” Frances explained during her presentation. “Happy and successful people manage the stress of change by letting go of things they can’t control.”
Frances shared the following four strategies for effectively dealing with change:
- Find the opportunities in change. Don’t just change a process for compliance, for example, but rather take the opportunity to improve your processes.
- Look at change as an adventure. Recognize that we have a choice when it comes to how we view what happens to us.
- Live in the present. Don’t spend time regretting the past or dreading the future.
- Practice the serenity prayer. If you can’t control it, learn to let it go. Don’t waste energy on things out of your control.
2. Driving Results Through Alignment Across Silos
Siloed departments managing disparate databases result in significant duplicate activities happening across a healthcare organization’s practitioners. “There’s a lot of duplicate requests for information,” according to Amy Niehaus, Senior Consultant at the Greeley Company. “[Practitioners] are being asked to submit the same information over and over again to different people in different departments.”
Unfortunately, such duplicate efforts can result in lost revenue, a luxury that healthcare organizations cannot afford in today’s environment. Healthcare organizations are possibly spending money on staff doing the same thing in different areas, leading to excessive credentialing delays, increased resources and costs, as well as reduced efficiency and quality.
According to Niehaus, the industry benchmark for the optimal credentialing process is 21 days, although it can be far less in leading organizations. Provider enrollment, for example, is an area with great opportunity for improvement by implementing delegated credentialing. “Seek out delegation with your payers,” Niehaus recommends. “Start talking to them about their requirements. You can start making changes about what you need to do to get there.”
3. The Future of Medical Staff Services Requires Change
Healthcare experts have questioned the longevity of the medical staff services organization in recent years. According to a white paper by Pershing Yoakley & Associates, the traditional medical staff organization has lost its relevancy. “It is a dinosaur from a reimbursement and legal system that is being replaced by a system demanding value and collaboration,” the white paper suggests.
In the session titled “The Enduring Value of the Medical Staff Organization,” Dr. Arthur Snow, Jr. discussed how MSPs can thrive in the new era of healthcare. An immediate past chair of the American Medical Association’s Organized Medical Staff Section, Dr. Snow, Jr. suggests physicians are the key to success. “I feel strongly that physicians are the only ones who can provide what is needed for the basis of becoming a provider of value,” he stated.
The Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s Triple Aim provides a framework for delivering quality care by focusing on improving three elements: the patient experience, population health, and cost reduction. Dr. Snow, Jr. suggests physician satisfaction should be the fourth component of this approach. “We need the Quadruple Aim,” he says. “If you don’t have happy physicians, you are not going to deliver those items that your [healthcare organization] wants to achieve.”
The healthcare landscape is constantly evolving and MSPs must be ready to adapt to the new environment. Managing stress effectively is key to overcoming these changes, which require the breaking down of silos across healthcare organizations and a continued focus on physicians.
Did you attend this year’s NAMSS conference@f14 What were your favorite learnings from the educational sessions@f15 Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.