Picking a healthcare consultant for your hospital

Healthcare is one of today’s fastest growing industries. With such growth, complexities will arise, often requiring the guidance and insight of a consultant. Here is a quick guide to help select the proper consultant for your hospital.

Fee Structure. There are three common fee structures widely used in healthcare consulting.
• Fee Based: Consultants charge a predetermined fee for a specific scope of work.
• Commission Based: Consultants request a commission rate relative to savings achieved. This structure provides the least risk to your hospital, as consultants are not compensated until savings are achieved and verified.
• Combination: Often viewed as an upfront, nonrefundable fee with the addition of a lower commission rate on achieved savings. Sometimes the upfront fee is used to offset the commission.

A Reference Should Be More Than Just a Quote.
While it is said a picture is worth a thousand words, when it comes to testimonials, speaking to the reference is worth thousands more. Websites and promotional materials will often endorse one- and two-line commentary from satisfied customers. Throughout your consultant selection process however, it is important to validate those testimonials by speaking to references. During your reference validation, here are some key questions you can ask:

• Whom did the consultant engage with at your hospital, and may I speak directly with them?
• Did the consultant collaboratively and effectively with current hospital vendors?
• Was the consulting company unobtrusive to your staff?
• Can you provide samples of work achieved?
• Are you still working with the consultant, and/or would you work with them again in the future?

“Give a man a fish, and he’ll eat for a day; teach a man to fish, and he’ll feed himself for the rest of his life.” Education and information sharing is an important part of any consulting engagement. Securing a consultant willing to impart their knowledge is imperative to your hospital’s future success. Be sure your staff is able to follow the consultant’s methods apply them to future projects. Because consultants work with innumerable hospitals and customers, they maintain a wealth of knowledge for industry insights and resources.

Tracking Deliverables. Consultants often carry a bad reputation for overpromising and under delivering. During introductory meetings with any consultant, outline clear deliverables and expectations to be monitored comprehensively. Examine qualifications for approved projects and billing to avoid downstream issues.

Dot Your I’s and Cross Your T’s. As with any service, make certain to have an effective contract in place prior to beginning any type of consulting. During your contract review, be sure to assess the out clause, payment terms, payment structure and consulting deliverables.

Developing your own goals before engaging any Healthcare Consultant is key. Once established, you can begin the process to find the right consultant for your Hospital.

About the author:
George Malik, the CEO of Quality First Solutions, has been in the healthcare industry for the past 30 years and has saved millions for hospitals nationwide.

The views, opinions and positions expressed within these guest posts are those of the author alone and do not represent those of Becker's Hospital Review/Becker's Healthcare. The accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this article are not guaranteed. We accept no liability for any errors, omissions or representations. The copyright of this content belongs to the author and any liability with regards to infringement of intellectual property rights remains with them.

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