Better Tools, Analysis Needed to Make Smart Healthcare Capital Investment Decisions

Written by: Jeff Lagasse, Associate Editor | Healthcare Finance

More sophisticated analysis is needed when it comes to capital investment decisions in healthcare, including better tools to ensure that the money is invested wisely, according to a new report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association,

Detailed models to forecast future population health needs should be established. Benchmarks for expected returns are also needed, it said, as well as a deeper understanding of how investment mechanisms, such as bonds and social finance, can help improve healthcare.

That's especially important for investment decisions regarding technology, the authors said, as well as the push to shift healthcare's focus from individuals to whole populations.

Since capital spending shapes operating budgets over the long term, it's essential that the use of capital achieves value, researchers said. An example of that would be investing in better communication technology and transportation for patients and healthcare personnel, rather than more hospitals and imaging machines -- a decision which could potentially lead to better care coordination and less imaging overall.

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