HealthLeaders Media 2010 Industry Survey Results

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About one-third of physician leaders acknowledge that factors other than medical care represent a "major influence" in their decision-making regarding tests or procedures. In the HealthLeaders Media Industry Survey of physician leaders, 33% said fear of lawsuits was a "major influence" when ordering tests or procedures. Another 48% consider such defensive medicine concerns a "minor influence." Thirty percent say reimbursement and revenue considerations are a "major influence," with another 38% saying these fiscal considerations are a "minor influence." Pressure from patients themselves is considered a major influence by 28%, with 55% citing that as a minor influence.

The strength of this cross-sector survey stems from our access to leaders across healthcare

Cost reduction has moved into the Top 3 priorities of healthcare leaders, up several spots from last year's No. 6 ranking. The results of the HealthLeaders Media Industry Survey 2010 also reveal that priorities differ among the various segments of the industry, as show some changes compared to last year's survey.

Among other highlights of the survey, released today: Physician leaders acknowledge that non-medical factors such as revenue, fear of lawsuits, and even pressure from patients are a major influence in their decision-making when it comes to ordering tests and procedures. And quality leaders say the No. 1 reason for failure to achieve compliance with handwashing protocols designed to prevent the spread of infections is "lack of spine to self-police and report colleagues' violations."

The No. 1 priority among all respondents is quality/patient safety, which retains that ranking in 2010, but with a smaller share than the 2009 results. Last year, 69% of respondents put quality/patient safety in their Top 3 list of priorities; for 2010, that dropped to 40%, still enough to be No. 1, but with a smaller consensus. (See Question 5 in each of the survey reports.)

And within specific segments of the healthcare industry, those priorities vary. For example, CEOs in a rural setting see physician recruitment and retention as their top priority (44%), while their colleagues in non-rural areas say cost reduction is the top concern (46%). Finance leaders see those issues as their top concerns: physician recruitment/retention No.1 (38%), cost reduction next (36%), and patient experience/patient satisfaction third (34%). A majority of health plan leaders puts cost reduction at the top (57%). Physician leaders cite quality/patient safety as their top priority (38%), as did quality leaders, but with a much larger consensus (65%).

Physician leaders were asked to assess the pressures that influence their decisions when ordering tests and procedures. (See Question 26 in the Physician Leaders report.) One-third (33%) say fear of lawsuits is a "major influence," while another 48% say it is a "minor influence." Reimbursement and revenue considerations represent a major influence for 30% of respondents, and a minor influence for 38%. Pressures from patients is a major influence for 28%, and a minor influence for 55%.

Getting staff to comply with handwashing protocols continues to be a challenge for healthcare quality leaders. They cite as the No. 1 reason behind failure to achieve compliance: lack of spine to self-police and report colleagues' violations (40%); next highest at 29% is lack of leadership to make it a priority, followed by lack of adequate penalties (19%) and lack of convenient access of appropriate supplies (12%). (See Question 37 in the quality leaders survey.)

The HealthLeaders Media Industry Survey includes scores of questions that explore healthcare leaders plans and concerns related to strategic/business concerns, clinical/medical trends, political/reform issues (including an assessment of the president, congress, and their own lobbyists; see Question 7), staffing/morale factors, and personal satisfaction levels.

"The strength of this cross-sector survey stems from our access to leaders across healthcare," says Rick Johnson, editorial director of HealthLeaders Media. HealthLeaders Media is the recognized brand leader in the healthcare arena, providing information and guidance on industry trends and real-world solutions for senior executives. HealthLeaders Media offers unmatched access to all areas of healthcare business intelligence through a suite of unparalleled products and platforms. With award-winning, original editorial content, HealthLeaders Media is the trusted source for 200,000 subscribers in print and online. HealthLeaders Media Breakthroughs joins a suite of digital offerings via http://www.healthleadersmedia.com. HealthLeaders Media Online is the healthcare industry's destination of choice for online news and analysis. The Web site provides intuitive navigation across the 10 major areas of the industry that HealthLeaders Media covers. These topics include: leadership, finance, technology, physicians, community hospitals, health plans, marketing, quality, HR, and nursing.

Background: The HealthLeaders Media Industry Survey 2010 report is based on seven concurrent surveys sent to healthcare leaders in seven segments across the industry: CEO, finance, technol¬ogy, physician, health plan, marketing, and quality leaders. In addition, data has been extracted based on community and rural status. The surveys included some common questions for all respondents and some questions directed to leaders in specific segments; some benchmark questions from the 2009 edition are included. We have also created a special service lines report based on leaders' responses on that topic. A total of 1,210 print and electronic surveys were completed in October 2009. The sample size allows for a 3% margin of error. The results of the HealthLeaders Media Industry Survey 2010 are presented with analysis in the February issue of HealthLeaders magazine, and in greater detail in reports posted online at http://www.healthleadersmedia.com/industry_survey.

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Bob Wertz
HealthLeaders Media
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