High hospital running costs might cripple operations,resulting in insufficient funds for maintenance, taking care of patients, and paying employees. It’s critical to have a workable plan that ensures a smooth and stress-free operation leading to sustainability.
According to data from Statistica, the USA hospital care expenditure was at 1.19 trillion US dollars in 2018, but the figures may rise to 1.32 trillion US dollars in 2020. It has been observed that the number of available hospital beds has decreased over the years, despite an increase in the elderly population.
In the United States alone, there are currently 6200 registered hospitals. In 1995, there were one million hospital beds in the US, but by 2017, they had decreased to 931000, and the figure is feared to go down drastically.
Where is the Problem?
Although medical interventions and increased knowledge mean that many ailments and conditions can successfully be dealt with without intense medical attention, there is still a need to keep the available hospitals running and in good shape. This is more important because of the increased mortality rate, which has seen an increase in the aged population who need more medical attention.
To sustain these hospitals, there should be an elaborate cost-saving plan that ensures the facilities’ expenses are well taken care of. The health system improves by acquiring better equipment, skills, and investing in the available workforce. Also, note that it’s not just about running a successful healthcare business but giving back to the community by offering quality, dependable and professional services.
A hospital is an essential investment in society. Its operations should be protected because when it fails, it affects not just the owners and the employees but all the patients who depended on its services.
Here are some ideas that, when implemented, can significantly reduce a hospital’s expenditure, ensuring the facility runs smoothly for many years and keeps updating its technology and human resource.
Covid 19 has taught the world that you can still carry on with life without necessarily working within an office setting. The same applies to hospitals. Facilities can have their patients book online consultations and have a doctor attend to their needs without visiting the hospital. This reduces the need to have and maintain large waiting bays, employ more receptionists or doctors’ assistants.
Other than this, you can reduce paperwork by having an online data collection system that is centralized. This means that all the departments can access the data, make necessary changes, and ensure all patient information is up to date. For instance, when a regular patient comes in for a check-up, a doctor doesn’t have to go through piles of files looking for their patient care data, but just a click on the system reveals all the needed information.
The automated system also saves space because you don’t have to keep large data storage units. You also get more organized, efficient, and fast, which boosts patient satisfaction. Additionally, you have a better-managed patient privacy system. Patient information is secure, cannot be lost, or shared with unauthorized persons. You don’t have to worry about a data breach, which can be costly to amend.
Carry Out an Energy Audit
You would be surprised at how much savings can be made when a facility is energy efficient. Getting a qualified and certified energy auditor to inspect the facility and recommend energy-saving tricks can save the facility a substantial amount of money every year. The audit should cover everything from the equipment used to the bulbs and technology at hand.
One thing you will realize is that old and faulty equipment may consume more energy. It’s important to invest, even if it may take some time, in newer, energy-efficient equipment. Also, you can invest in motion sensor devices that go off when not in use. It’s also advisable to submeter to understand the energy consumption per unit or department and make the necessary adjustments. If you can invest in other energy sources such as solar energy, this can drastically reduce the costs.
Water conservation tactics can be employed immediately but have long term effects. You can start with fixing or replacing faulty and leaking pipes and faucets, then install water meters. Motion sensor appliances, water-saving gadgets such as better flushing toilets, and reduced pressure valves should be long-term investments that ensure you use less water while still meeting the facility’s water consumption needs.
When the right water conservancy measures are in place, a 400-bed facility can save at least $250000 each year on water bills. You will also be contributing to global water and energy conservation efforts.
Revisit Staffing Plans
Due to advancements in technology, some staffing roles become redundant. This means that you need to evaluate your staffing plans yearly to get rid of unnecessary positions. As you may have realized, staffing is the most expensive hospital expenditure, but ensuring that you only keep or hire the staff you need makes it more manageable. Additionally, as more people rely on online services to control Covid 19, you may also see a decline in your staffing needs. Because your employees are at the center of service delivery, you should involve them in making budgets and implementing the cost-cutting strategy.
Let them understand why you need to cut costs and ask if they have any suggestions to make. For instance, they may have experience using cheaper but quality supplies that may lead to more savings. When employees are engaged in the exercise, it also leads to cutting unnecessary expenses. There is less wastage of resources and duplication of effort.
How Can Nurses Save Hospitals Money
Nurses make up the highest number of a hospital’s workforce; therefore, a budget control strategy cannot be successful without considering or involving them. Nurses are a crucial part of the healthcare set up because they ensure patients get quality and timely services. While looking at cost-cutting measures, the quality of services mustn’t be interfered with while at the same time, the facility’s growth plan should be effected.
How can this be done?
Ensuring Nurses Use an Electronic Data System
Paperwork is not only tedious, but it takes up a lot of time. This means that nurses will use a substantial amount of their time recording, retrieving, and filing documents instead of attending to patients. An electronic system makes it easier and faster to collect and retrieve data leading to a more efficient and satisfactory service. Nurses also enjoy their work more because it is less tedious, making them work harder to satisfy patients. Automating the systems also means less wastage.
Sustainable Work Shifts
A lot of expenditure goes into paying casuals and overtime, but when you come up and implement workable work shifts, nurses will be at work when needed and do not have to go for extra shifts. It’s essential to strategize and plan for current and future staffing needs. Staffing hurriedly makes the exercise costly and unsustainable. A good work schedule also helps to create or come up with cost-effective staff employment benefits.
What are the 6 Types of Cost Saving?
A long-term approach to cost-saving that involves all stakeholders enables an organization to achieve its vision. It also makes it easier to run the facility, and everyone is happier, including patients. Here are the areas the executive team should look into when cutting costs.
Non-efficient appliances increase energy consumption. For instance, you may have slow and old computers that slow down processes and use more energy. You can replace them with better devices that use less energy. At the start, investing in energy-efficient appliances may be costly but worthwhile in the long term.
Productivity and efficiency go hand in hand. When appliances or equipment do not function properly, productivity is affected. Breakdowns affect or stall service delivery, which slows down processes. Also, improving workers’ productivity means enabling them with tools and equipment to make better decisions or become more productive.
It’s not possible to cut costs without fully automating the systems or processes. The approach involves investing in software, machines, and robots that run on their own. This reduces the need for human involvement in production, which translates to lowered running costs and staffing needs. Automation also helps combine processes or adapt better and more efficient methods.
Outsourcing solves staffing and technology issues. Most hospitals have to deal with many calls, and to attend to all of them takes up a lot of time. Instead of nurses and other employees concentrating on patients, they use a lot of time on calls. Outsourcing to an experienced call center ensures clients get the attention and information they want, and the hospital workforce is not overworked.
Other services that can be outsourced include technology, catering, cleaning, among others. When the hospital outsources, they don’t have to invest in expensive equipment but are assured of having the best automation in the industry in terms of experience and technology. Additionally, the facility doesn’t have to invest in expensive insurance covers and other employee benefits when they outsource.
Hospital facilities may also invest in shared equipment. The equipment can be shared between departments or with other facilities. The arrangement saves money because a hospital doesn’t have to buy the same equipment for every department. When sharing with other facilities, it reduces capital expenditure and increases equipment availability. If you have invested in quality hospital equipment, sharing prevents under utilization and, at the same time, increases revenue.
Efficient systems and processes translate to better service provision and reliability. Efficient equipment breaks down less often, which improves service delivery. When systems crash, workers waste time waiting for it to be fixed, meaning that they will be paid, but no work is done. Consequently, workers may be forced to use other methods that may not be cost-effective to keep the services running. Reliable services also make patients depend and trust your facility, which increases hospital revenue.
Quality services in a health facility are paramount. You cannot compromise on quality service delivery from correct data correction methods, diagnosis, and prescriptions. When delivering quality products and services, you do not have to repeat processes or refund to complaining patients. Furthermore, when checking the quality of products or services, you may realize some cheaper options may deliver the same results. For instance, carrying out a software comparison may help you switch to cheaper but reliable options that save you hefty licensing and maintenance fees.
As you find out ways to save patients’ lives and the cost of running the facility, have a workable plan. The first step is understanding the current expenditure and breaking it down to have a clearer picture to work with. When you involve all the stakeholders, including the different working groups, the exercise will be more successful. A cost-saving plan is not a one-time exercise but a continued and deliberate effort to make regular adjustments that promote the hospital’s growth plan.