Tag Archives: Healthcare


The healthcare industry is in the midst of change and challenges, driven by a triple-whammy of technological innovation, the pandemic and the hiring and employment crisis. This triad is affecting how healthcare is delivered and who is delivering it.

Not only are wearable healthcare devices and telehealth changing the way the industry serves patients, but the explosion of this technology is putting increased demands on the manufacturers that make these devices. At the same time, the staffing shortage and pay equity debates that are hitting every other industry are bedeviling healthcare, too.

In the midst of it all, the industry is striving for optimal efficiency behind the scenes in the manufacturing sector and in the patient-facing realm as well. Not an easy task.

Healthcare trends for today and tomorrow

Let’s explore current healthcare trends and look at how USCCG can help healthcare manufacturers and providers level up with process improvements to roll with these changing tides.

Wearable devices + telehealth

These may seem like two separate areas of the industry, but it’s really a chicken-and-egg situation with wearable devices and telehealth. While they’d both exist without the other, the union of these two facets of the industry at the right time has been the catalyst for explosive change. And demand.

Personal healthcare devices are not new to the healthcare market. Internal devices like pacemakers have been keeping hearts beating for decades. So, too, diabetes checkers, wearable heart monitors and blood pressure machines allow patients to track their own numbers at home without going to a doctor’s office or clinic. But it’s one element of that — the ability to do it remotely, at home — that caused the market to rocket skyward. The catalyst? The pandemic.

When COVID hit and took hold, doctors needed ways to monitor the health of their patients without an in-person visit. Hospitals and clinics were overwhelmed with COVID cases and suddenly telehealth was the only option for people needing care that wasn’t an emergency.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reported a 63-fold increase in telehealth visits during 2020, with patients utilizing wearable health devices like heart, blood pressure and diabetes monitors, among other devices. The wearable health device market is estimated to jump to $95.4 billion within the next five years.

Although this explosion was triggered by the pandemic, it is not going away as the virus recedes. Doctors found that 24/7 health data monitoring increased the quality of patient care. More information, better care, healthier people. All without the patient leaving home. It’s also a boon for people who live in rural areas without easy access to hospitals or clinics, making this trend nothing less than a blessing to the quality of life of people everywhere. It’s here to stay.

All of it is made possible by the manufacturers of these devices, many of whom found their operations overwhelmed by the increased demand.

AI and machine learning

The healthcare tech trend isn’t confined to telehealth and wearable devices. It has made its way into the clinic as well. Artificial intelligence, namely machine learning, in healthcare is growing rapidly. The market for this tech is predicted to be more than $20 million in 2023. Computer vision, pattern recognition algorithms, predictions of clinical trials and drug interactions, advanced imagery like MRI scans — all growing rapidly in this market. A bot making your diagnosis isn’t that far away. That medical device we’ve all seen on Star Trek, the tricorder? It’s basically here now. All of it can lead the industry to deliver more personalized treatments and diagnoses.

Employment and staffing

In addition to the healthcare tech explosion, the industry is dealing with a staffing crisis. A recent survey by the Medical Group Management Association found 58% of medical practices nationwide find staffing to be their biggest challenge. According to the survey, staffing outpaced the second most important concern, expenses, by an alarming 35 percentage points.

What’s behind the staffing shortages? A quick list:

All of these challenges require process improvements to get healthcare facilities and manufacturing plants running at peak efficiency. That’s where we come in.

Process optimization in healthcare manufacturing, USCCG-style

At USCCG, we specialize in helping manufacturers of all stripes transform their operations and processes into lean (or Lean) and mean operations, functioning at optimal efficiency levels.

Our expertise is working with organizations to improve business performance by increasing throughput, reducing costs, eliminating waste, increasing productivity, improving quality and leveraging existing assets.

To get there, we will typically focus on Lean Six Sigma methodologies, including:

One key element in our approach that you may not find elsewhere: We get onto the floor and partner with your employees, the people who are doing the job day to day. And we encourage your upper management and C-suite execs to do the same.

But it’s not just about the manufacturing process. Our healthcare expertise is also about applying process improvements to hospital and clinic operations, too.

Beyond manufacturing

Healthcare manufacturing is not the only area that needs an efficiency boost. Hospitals and clinics are focusing on operational improvements as well.

When we work with healthcare clients, our goal is to improve and enhance healthcare facilities’ Management Operating System (MOS) — basically how they plan, schedule, assign work, follow up, report and drive continuous improvement processes.

Some of the areas we focus on:

We help healthcare facilities standardize their processes, strive for continuous improvement and recognize operational lapses that can impact productivity, quality of care, capacity and customer service.

At USCCG, we are committed to partnering with the healthcare industry to create process improvements that ultimately result in streamlined, efficient operations. In the end, it’s about better patient outcomes. We’re proud to help bring that about.

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In March 2010, then President Barack Obama signed into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and ushered in the era of value-based health care. While various groups within the medical community had been pursuing this outcome for decades, the passage and enactment of the legislation greenlit the creation of regulatory infrastructure needed to promote and facilitate widespread adoption among health care providers, medical device makers and pharmaceutical firms, according to research published in the journal Current Reviews in Musculoskeletal Medicine. Experts predicted the effects of this would ripple across numerous health care-adjacent industries – most notably, the life sciences space.

Did this transformation unfold as expected? Now almost a decade removed from the signing of the ACA, it is possible to assess how the emergence of value-based care has impacted this key sector.

Grappling with operational change

In the immediate aftermath of the legislation, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services swapped the volumetric provider repayment models of the past for those centered on patient outcomes. This modification incentivized hospitals to embrace value-based workflows that reduced the likelihood of readmission and eliminated unnecessary costs to patients. Businesses in the life sciences sector were ultimately forced to grapple with this transformation, as health care providers encouraged them to adopt value-based contracting practices.

The organizations that accepted this challenge made significant adjustments to their operations, incorporating evidence-gathering and patient-engagement methodologies into existing research and development processes with the intention of cultivating effective products that would bolster patient outcomes and therefore generate revenue. However, some companies in the life sciences space resisted, including pharmaceutical firms, many of which leveraged their power in the marketplace to push back against providers promoting value-based care. Just one-quarter of drug companies have adopted value-based contracting strategies, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers.

More transformation on the horizon

The value-based care transformation continues today, despite recent policy changes related to the ACA. Why? The concept works as intended. Almost 80 percent of insurance companies saw care outcomes improve between 2016 and 2018, while watching overall medical costs decrease by more than 5 percent over the same span, researchers from Change Health Care found. This is partially why 75 percent of providers are lobbying vendors in the life sciences sector and other industries to enter into value-based contracting agreements, according to Premier.

In the past, organizations in the industry may have been able to ignore these calls. However, the maturing state of value-based care and pressure from consumers is making this difficult. Here in the U.S., an estimated 80 percent of individuals using medication say pharmaceutical pricing is unreasonable, analysts for the Kaiser Family Foundation discovered. Politicians on both sides of the aisle agree and have expressed a willingness to intervene on patients’ behalf.

With this state of affairs in play, organizations in the life sciences arena would be wise to evaluate their internal workflows and move forward with modifications that prepare them for the value-based future. Here at USC Consulting Group, we have been helping businesses optimize their operations for decades, leveraging proven techniques and tools that ease change and lay the foundation for growth.

Contact us today to learn more about our work.


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