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Key challenges in the global healthcare sector

Siemens Financial Services has released a new research report examining how healthcare organisations around the world meet the sector’s key challenges with smart finance.

Conducted with healthcare providers across thirteen countries, the report has identified four common challenges: ‘managing investment in a capital-constrained environment’, ‘adapting to market forces’, ‘digital innovation and technological transformation’ and ‘meeting regulation and compliance requirements’. The research also explores how healthcare finance managers are deploying pioneering financing techniques to combat these obstacles to improve service provision and patient outcomes.

Diversify their funding sources

According to the report, budget constraints are hindering healthcare providers’ ability to make essential investments, which can lead to sub-par patient services. At the same time, changing patient requirements and rising competitive forces make it increasingly difficult for healthcare institutions to accurately plan capital budget requirements. There is also a pressing need to grasp technological advances to enable quality and productivity improvements. Regulatory pressures present an additional challenge of instituting wholesale change in healthcare organisations.

These impediments have led to a widespread intention amongst healthcare finance managers to diversify their funding sources. Leasing, rental and other forms of asset financing are highlighted in particular because of their abilities to enable improved cash flow and increased budgetary control.

Such financing techniques start from desired patient outcomes and work back to build a business case and financing structure that meets those objectives. Since financing models can embrace the total operating costs of new technology, finance managers can better obtain a reliable insight into cost-per-patient-outcome. Instead of tying up precious funds in equipment investments, customised financing enables improved budget management. A few illustrative benefits include: comprehensive bundles of technology, service and staffing; payment schedules aligned to the commencement of operational technology and ‘umbrella agreements’ to accommodate future technology acquisitions.

“In the face of escalating healthcare operational costs and more stringent performance measures, flexible financing techniques are increasingly coming to the fore,” comments Carl Ahlgren, Head of Sales Public Sector & Healthcare for Siemens Financial Services in the Nordics and UK. “Through the use of smart finance healthcare providers can attract more patients, adapt seamlessly to market changes and raise overall healthcare standards.”

Methodology

Independent qualitative research was conducted in the first half of 2015 amongst healthcare finance managers across thirteen countries – China, Finland, France, Germany, India, Norway, Poland, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, the UK and the US. Respondents were asked about the key challenges confronting their organisations and how these impact their organisational goals as well as the range of financing techniques they deploy in overcoming these obstacles. The report can be downloaded at www.siemens.com/champions-of-change