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Q&A with Dr. Steve Narang, CEO, Banner-University Medicine Phoenix

April 12, 2019
From the April 2019 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

The hospital, like the surrounding land is open and bright
HCB News: Other than staffing, what are the biggest challenges facing healthcare today?
SN: I think almost every system is going through the challenge of matching the new realities of declining reimbursements with rising costs, particularly in labor and supplies. There’s no doubt that we’re going through significant transformations in healthcare and our payors cannot, and will not, subsidize healthcare systems for what they believe is increasing waste in our systems. At Banner-University Medicine, we have created multidisciplinary teams led by clinical experts to help improve the delivery of value-based outcomes by reducing the misuse and overuse of resources. These “care transformation” teams partner with our physician leaders to extract and analyze data to ensure it is meaningful to our providers so care delivery can be redesigned to organize around our patients’ unique needs.

This approach has led to the development of a culture where our clinicians are now partners with the medical center in thoughtfully evaluating how we deliver care, leading to consistent improvements in key outcome measures such as length of stay, readmissions, supply utilization, and healthcare-acquired infections. It is this cultural transformation around assessing value in care delivery that will be our “secret sauce” to reduce waste and controllable expenses at every level.

As evidence of the effectiveness of this value based journey, Banner-University Medical Center, Phoenix was recently identified by IBM Watson as a top 100 Medical Center in the Major Teaching hospital category in 2018 and 2019.

HCB News: The public’s increased involvement in being responsible for its care seems to be evolving quickly today, especially with access through personal devices. How has that impacted Banner?
SN: The buzzword is consumerism. We see it every day, it’s impacting our business. Frankly, it’s economics. The average insurance premium for a family of four is almost $20k a year. So there’s no longer this opaqueness about who’s paying for healthcare.

Certainly the impact of the ACA and the healthcare exchanges have confirmed the impact of price on patients’ healthcare choices. Consumers are now searching on their mobile devices for the best value in terms of how best to spend their hard-earned dollar on healthcare. The average consumer assumes a certain quality standard, and are more focused on ease of access and price.

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