CHKS healthcare leaders’ survey 2017: what are the top challenges?At our recent CHKS Top Hospitals awards event we celebrated excellence in healthcare, welcoming senior leaders from acute trusts, independent providers and international health and care organisations. We were joined by CCGs, NHS England and many other support, improvement and regulatory bodies to recognise teams that deliver exceptional care to their patients every day.
 
We conducted a survey of Top Hospitals attendees to find out more about the challenges facing healthcare leaders today. From the 109 respondents we learned that over the last 12 months, priorities have shifted slightly.
 
As expected, workforce remains high on the board agenda and is an increasing concern. A quarter of participants cited recruitment and retention of clinical staff as their main challenge, making this the number one issue in our survey. This compares to 15 per cent in 2016 when workforce came third on the list. Healthcare leaders told us that building an engaged and ‘fit for future’ workforce is a key priority.
 
Making better use of data and actionable information is a challenge that entered the top five list for the first time in 2017. Healthcare organisations are increasingly recognising the value of accurate and reliable data in driving decision making and innovation. Better patient experience data and benchmarking were cited by some as particular areas of interest. Unlocking the real value of healthcare data will come from creating a single point of truth for local health economies then joining up datasets to enable population analytics and better patient care along pathways.
 
Balancing budgets while improving care, outcomes and experience is the third most common issue facing healthcare organisations. It’s no surprise that this has made our list of top challenges for the last five years when services continue to grapple with budgetary pressures and increasing demand. This is an issue faced by national health services both at home and overseas. Organisations are addressing the issue in many different ways, by reducing variation, adopting enabling technologies, driving up efficiency and introducing new models of care that change ways of working. But the inherent challenge here is funding the transformation.
 
Another regular in our list is managing capacity and demand. The difference in 2017 is the view that winter pressures now appear to be a fact of life all year round. Compounded by the workforce and demographic challenges, meeting demand is not going to get easier and healthcare leaders need more radical game changing solutions to this problem. 
 
The survey revealed that continuous improvement and building a quality culture is now a top five priority for health and care organisations. While quality and safety have always been top priority, a focus on improving services and patient outcomes through engaging and empowering staff has remained further down the list until now. Successful and sustainable improvement programmes require support from the top so it is good news that more healthcare leaders are recognising the importance of their role in the process. 
 
About CHKS
 
We have been working with healthcare organisations around the world for over 27 years to improve health service quality, safety and efficiency. Our aim is to provide healthcare information products and services that inform, deliver and sustain improvement – at patient, service, organisation and population level. To find out more visit www.chks.co.uk or email info@chks.co.uk.
 
 
At our recent CHKS Top Hospitals awards event we celebrated excellence in healthcare, welcoming senior leaders from acute trusts, independent providers and international health and care organisations. We were joined by CCGs, NHS England and many other support, improvement and regulatory bodies to recognise teams that deliver exceptional care to their patients every day.
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