The Daughters of Charity Defined Mission; Sister Irene Defined Margin.

At one time the Daughters of Charity were known for the winged habits they wore―in fact those habits were the inspiration for the 1960’s TV series “The Flying Nun.” Founded in 1633, their mission was to care for the sick, aged, infirm and poor. For more than four centuries, their mission remained essentially the same. Then a spirited American girl with the perfect combination of leadership skills and business acumen came along to add something new.

It was called “Margin.”

No margin No mission

No Margin, No Mission

That girl was Sister Irene Kraus, who is credited with giving healthcare the phrase “No Margin, No Mission.”

Entering the order right out of high school during WWII, she started as a teacher and was eventually guided into nursing—quickly becoming an operating room supervisor and hospital administrator. She went on to earn an MBA and eventually directed six Catholic hospitals before becoming the first president of the Daughters of Charity National Health System [now Verity Health], which at the time oversaw more than 80 hospitals and health-related facilities in the U.S. Her influence continued to grow and in 1980, she became the first woman to serve as chairman of the American Hospital Association.

Strong Fiscal Management Is What Modern Hospitals Need to Fulfill Their Mission

Sister Irene believed that strong fiscal management, not just charity, is what modern healthcare organizations needed to fulfill their mission. Charity was not enough to sustain mission in the 20th Century and beyond, according to Sister Irene. “In the United States, in this day and age,” she would say, “the way to do it is to run institutions that are financially solid.” She did that well enough to be inducted into the Healthcare Hall of Fame. Sister Irene’s beliefs are just as important today. For example, according to the Centers Medicare and Medicaid Services:

* National health spending is projected to grow at an average rate of 5.5 percent per year for 2017-26 and reach $5.7 trillion by 2026.

* Health spending is projected to grow 1.0 percentage point faster than Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per year over the 2017-26 period; as a result, the health share of GDP is expected to rise from 17.9 percent in 2016 to 19.7 percent by 2026.

In addition, the healthcare model is changing, with more services shifting to an outpatient setting given the costs involved with traditional hospital care―and changing payor models like the implementation of value-based care, away from the traditional fee-for-service approach. In fact,  magazine did a story detailing that hospital spending made up roughly $1.1 trillion of national healthcare spending in 2016, or more than twice what the U.S. spent in the year 2000 and four times what was spent in 1990. Looking at it another way, 32 cents of every healthcare dollar is spent on hospital care.

No margin, no mission. No margin, no mission. No margin, no mission.

Decades ago Sister Irene realized these types of financial impacts and that’s why she spearheaded the No Margin, No Mission mantra in health care. She believed healthcare organizations could better fulfill

their mission of providing the healthcare services needed by communities with potent fiscal management. No margin, no mission – if there’s money without a plan, the story will lead to the same conclusion every time. If there is a mission, there must also be the fiscal responsibility of a margin. It makes perfect economic sense.

Although the solutions to healthcare’s financial woes are wide-ranging, we believe there are great opportunities on the operational side to optimize hospital resources – beds, treatment areas, staff, equipment. In other words – to do more with less.

Fiscal responsibility doesn’t have to be achieved at the expense of quality patient care and access. In fact, better operational management supports those two goals. Shorter wait times, more access, faster care delivery, less waste, fewer hospital acquired infections – the list is broad and wide reaching. And that’s where TeleTracking’s mission comes to life―to ensure that no one will ever have to wait for the care they need.

To learn more about how TeleTracking helps heath systems effectively navigate these new waters, listen to our three-part podcast on value-based care with our resident expert, Dr. Scott Newton, Director, Product Management.

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