J. Tod Fetherling

CEO / Data Geek

Winning at Survivor

If you’ve ever seen the reality show, Survivor, hospitals could learn a thing or two.

The show features teams of contestants ‘marooned’ to a remote location. They have to work together to collect food and water, build fires, and construct shelters all while competing in challenges for rewards.

The contestants vote to eliminate someone each week until a single “Sole-Survivor” remains and wins the grand prize. If a contestant displayed less than stellar utility to the group in behavior or performance if they let their teammates do most of the heavy lifting, if they don’t share, or if they sleep too late, they can be eliminated.

Can hospitals learn from Survivor? They certainly are in a contest, vying for some rather large stakes and elimination is a real possibility. 2017 net patient revenues for US hospitals were around $2 trillion with only around a 3.9 percent margin on EBITDA, and more than 2,400 out of 3,969 hospitals total booking a loss. Since 2010 more than 220 non-federal, short-stay, acute care hospitals have closed. And more are expected to close, as reimbursement and revenues continue to tighten.

Seven information utility questions you should ask regularly:

  1. Is your hospital’s information set imbalanced?
  2. Have you got a data/information/governance plan?
  3. Have you done a data/information SWOT?
  4. Is information shared, and shared with the right people?
  5. Is it timely and useful?
  6. Is information flow restricted?
  7. Do you regularly assess the utility of your information and adjust as changing circumstances dictate?

Information Imbalance

What an amazing insight from one of the weak competitors who flipped the tables with one comment about being “Information Imbalanced.”

What does this term “Information Imbalanced” really mean, anyway? I believe it has two meanings.

  1. What you don’t know will substantially weaken your market position.
  2. You have information, but you can’t or don’t know how to use it strategically.

I run into these scenarios almost daily in the healthcare industry. The world of data is evolving rapidly. Does your organization have the flexibility to evolve with the market? If you are using a strategy from the 90’s, then there is a good chance you have already lost the battle and about to be voted off the proverbial island. Margins are slim. You need to grow revenue now, quickly. What are you going to do today to get back your information balance?

March 27, 2018

Winning and Surviving