5 things to know about growth in the hospital C-suite

Hospitals continue to report high growth rates among their administrative staff, according to a whitepaper released by SK&A, with C-suite level titles now compromising 12 percent of the 200,000 titles in its database.

The report emphasized how consolidation among hospitals is changing the makeup of the C-suite and changing the decision-making process, which can be especially challenging for vendors trying to do business with hospitals. At the same time, the increasing number of healthcare administrators has been cited as one reason U.S. healthcare has become so expensive.

Here are five key findings from the SK&A report:

1. What roles are growing and dominating the C-suite

The top three C-suite titles are chief of medical staff, CEO and CFO, which the report said was to be expected “with pressure to improve population health, maximize efficiencies and reduce costs.”

Consolidation appeared to influence what roles are growing. Between July 2016 and July 2016, the largest growth in the number of records added to the SK&A hospital database were seen for the role of CEO (increased 19.86 percent), chief operating officer (14.26 percent) and chief medical officer (13.6 percent).

Among all hospital titles, CEO growth was only eclipsed by the 20.51 percent growth among administrators.

2. Nursing and radiology top clinical director titles

Director of patient care or nursing was the top title among all clinical directors, followed by director of radiology services, director of pharmacy services and director of emergency room.

“The predominance of directors in nursing, radiology and pharmacy services aligns with broader healthcare trends such as the expansion of nurse practitioner scope-of-practice laws, the evolution of enterprise image management, and the growing role of pharmacies and Pharmacists in the healthcare continuum,” the report said.

The patient care/nursing director also saw the greatest growth (12.14 percent), followed by director of case management (11.74 percent) and director of discharge planning (9.49 percent)—which the report said “reflect hospital concerns about patient outcomes and efficiency.”

3. Non-clinical titles topped by human resources

Director of human resources was the No. 1 non-clinical director title in SK&A’s database and saw the greatest growth rate, which could mean hospitals are emphasizing a change in their organizational culture and aggressively recruiting for provider roles. director of food services was No. 2, which the report guessed could mean patients are asking for more health-conscious food or nutrition is being recognized as a factor in population health.

4. What it means for vendors

Increased consolidation and changing titles means the commercial teams looking to sell IT, medical device or other products and services to hospital may not know who to contact. It also means the sales pitch may have to change, rather than assuming clinicians are only concerned with patient care and non-clinicians only want to cut costs.

“Given the move towards collaborative decision making, sales and marketing strategies today should include information on clinical effectiveness and the impact on quality of care plus value and (return on investment),” the report said.

Those in the C-suite may also be influenced by factors like service-level agreements “equivalent to better than their in-house levels” and the five-year cost of acquisition.

5. The C-suite of the future

SK&A also expected new titles to emerge in the C-suite as leaders will need greater expertise in business, transition management and organizational efficiency. These roles may include: chief innovation officer, chief transportation officer and chief data analytics officer.