The role of the chief financial officer at hospitals and other healthcare companies has evolved from managing financial risks to becoming a trusted strategic adviser.
Yet, a majority of CFOs feel they don't have the resources and tools necessary to meet their new responsibilities or adapt to the evolving healthcare landscape, according to a new survey from consulting firm Kaufman Hall.
Only 14% of survey respondents, which included 126 healthcare CFOs and senior finance executives, think they are prepared to manage the financial impact of healthcare reform with their current financial planning processes. In addition, just 19% of participants felt confident in their team's ability to adjust if business circumstances change suddenly. That's certainly a possibility as President-elect Donald Trump and the GOP-led Congress promise to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.
A majority of the CFO respondents also reported their organizations lacked resources to make more meaningful changes. About 55% of survey participants said constrained resources stand in the way of the goals of the organization. Nearly 50% said outdated processes are an everyday barrier to effective planning.
“Many healthcare organizations don't have the tools in place to efficiently model various views of the future and to translate strategies into operational activities,” said Jay Spence, vice president of product and industry at Kaufman Hall.
The report also notes access to clinical and financial data has become increasingly important for finance teams as their role expands. Finance executives are called on to help set broad strategic initiatives as well as evaluate mergers and acquisitions. But an overwhelming majority of CFOs, 91%, thought their organization should do more to better leverage financial and operational data to inform strategic decisions.
Roughly 62% of respondents said cost containment and efficiency was an important strategic goal for their organization, but only 35% said they had cost-measurement tools in place.
“More data is needed to establish a comprehensive view of business performance,” Spence said. “Where healthcare providers struggle is integrating this data and aggregating at the right level to turn that data into actionable insight.”
Spence said it is important for healthcare organizations to invest in tools that automate and integrate financial data so it is readily available. “Many organizations struggle to integrate financial and clinical data to truly inform and direct these transformational activities,” he said.