2023 Post-Acute Trends: Five Strategies to Improve Hospital Outcomes

From meeting medically complex patient needs to improving financial performance, post-acute care integration has never been more important for a hospital’s overall strategy.

Learn the top trends in rehabilitation for 2023 and hear from Lifepoint Rehabilitation and Behavioral Health President Russ Bailey on how these trends are expected to impact hospitals.

  1. Combating the ongoing workforce crisis

Recruiting and retaining clinical talent remains a top priority, according to a recent healthcare executive survey.[1] Three key factors fueling this ongoing shortage include:

  • Elevated staffing costs

Due to various COVID-19 surges, labor costs have grown 25% since 2019.1 “It has become increasingly difficult for hospitals to keep up with service demands with a drastically declining workforce,” shared Bailey. Support from a focused partner with local and national reach helps hospitals to identify and retain specialized talent.

  • Worsening experience-complexity gap

Another shortage among the clinical workforce is experience.[2] “Not only are we seeing a large gap in experienced labor, the patient population is becoming older and more complex. This has pushed hospitals to seek support from an industry expert to help alleviate this labor-patient imbalance,” stated Bailey.

  • Capacity constraints

A lack of clinical labor, treatment supplies and bed space has heightened the healthcare labor crisis. Bailey said, “These compounding factors cannot be taken on by a single hospital. Partnership allows hospitals to focus on quality care while the partner provides specialized resources and expertise to overcome challenges such as capacity constraints.”

  1. Scaling chronic disease management

Research notes that more than 655,000 people in the U.S. die from heart disease each year, while nearly 800,000 experience a stroke annually.[3] “Seeing cases like heart disease and stroke drastically rise each year is just one of the many reasons hospitals are including elevated chronic disease management into their overall strategy,” stated Bailey.

“When Lifepoint partners with hospitals, we bring in specialized technology, training and expertise to help equip staff with resources to succeed with their patients, no matter their condition.”

  1. Leveraging flexible care models

Now more than ever, hospitals are reviewing the scope and scale of their care continuum – leading to service line expansions, and an increase in ambulatory sites, digital health, and post-acute care.[4]

Co-location continues to see substantial growth as patients with both physical and mental illnesses want to receive high-quality care in the same setting. This model, also referred to as the Hospital-in-Hospital (HiH) model, helps streamline a hospital’s care approach while improving outcomes and flexibility.

“When you pair post-acute services under the same roof, you enable patients to reap the benefits of multiple specialty offerings without having to transfer them outside of the system,” stated Bailey.

  1. Focus on financial stability

Eighty three percent of healthcare executives note financial stability is one of their top priorities for 2023 strategic planning.[5]

“Successfully managing all aspects of a rehabilitation unit or hospital has become more financially challenging due to growing patient complexities, readmission risks and the integration of value-based care,” stated Bailey. “If a hospital can achieve an effective post-acute strategy they can better manage the intricacies of the program and increase care quality in a cost-conscious way.”

  1. Growth of strategic partnerships

Throughout the pandemic, health leaders turned to innovative solutions to meet the growing demand in their community. Contract management and joint-venture partnerships emerged as a proven strategy to expand care in a high-quality and cost-effective manner.

“Partnership offers access to new capabilities, increased speed to market, and greater efficiencies in capital, scale and operations,” stated Bailey. “Lifepoint Rehabilitation helps local hospitals access a national database of quality data, greater operational efficiency and industry-leading best practices. Through this, we are able to relieve the burden of running a complex service line, enabling hospitals leadership to focus on what really matters – the patient.”

To learn how Lifepoint Rehabilitation can help your hospital meet growing opportunities and stay ahead of future trends, visit LifepointRehabilitation.net. 

[1] Fleron, A., Krishna, A., & Singhal, S. (2022, September 19). The gathering storm: The transformative impact of inflation on the healthcare sector. McKinsey & Company. Retrieved September 21, 2022, from https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/healthcare-systems-and-services/our-insights/the-gathering-storm-the-transformative-impact-of-inflation-on-the-healthcare-sector

[2] The Advisory Board (29, June 25). The experience-complexity gap. Advisory Board. Retrieved September 21, 2022, from https://www.advisory.com/topics/nursing-care-quality-and-service/2019/06/the-experience-complexity-gap

[3] Souders, A. (2022). Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention FY 2023 Fact Sheet. National Association of Chronic Disease Directors. https://chronicdisease.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/NACDD-Fact-Sheet-2023_DHDSP-final2.pdf

[4] Singhal, S., & Patel, N. (2022, August 5). The future of US healthcare: What's next for the Industry Post-covid-19. McKinsey & Company. Retrieved September 22, 2022, from https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/healthcare-systems-and-services/our-insights/the-future-of-us-healthcare-whats-next-for-the-industry-post-covid-19

[5] HFMA, (June 2022), Rehabilitation Service Live Survey, [PowerPoint Slides], Healthcare Financial Management Association

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