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Cost Containment Corner - Five steps to cost efficiency

November 27, 2015
Anne Papik
From the November 2015 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine
Now more than ever, hospitals are driven to become more cost efficient while delivering high-quality patient care. With reimbursement reductions and the movement toward capitated payments, hospitals and health care facilities need to identify redundancies and cost saving opportunities. There are five immediate steps that health care facilities can take to begin containing excess costs.
1. Increase throughput
Today, hospitals in the U.S. spend approximately $11 per second, per patient, a statistic that has been borne out in my own experience. Given the high cost of operations, hospital administrators must find practical ways to boost the speed of patient throughput. Selecting a well-rounded equipment service provider can lead to equipment efficiencies, particularly if the provider offers a large breadth of services and a well-trained team. Hospitals and health care facilities should ensure that personnel are well-versed in operating equipment and troubleshooting to speed up the process while improving quality of patient care. Many service providers now offer both biomedical training and clinical training for in-house hospital staff to manage this process.
2. Consolidate service suppliers
Rather than working with multiple equipment service suppliers, hospitals may look to consolidate with one provider. OEM providers today can replicate services across multiple pieces of equipment. Multi-facility health care organizations can also implement a service strategy that balances skills across nearby facilities. A reputable multi-vendor provider can likely service multiple locations and facilities that are within close proximity to one another. Hospitals can benefit from greater predictability, control and cost savings.
Health care facilities should institute a vetting process in order to set up a successful relationship. There are many service providers that will claim they can “service and fix” your medical equipment for less than you are currently spending. Few of these providers can deliver cost savings plus comprehensive solutions across the entire health care continuum. Health care organizations should select a service provider that has the flexibility to meet various service needs.
3. Reduce redundancies
A number of processes within health care organizations are redundant and inefficient. Redundancies often result from hospital consolidations, which create duplicate procedures and support structures — most often these are back office processes, including invoicing and billing. Organizational leaders should apply lean concepts to eliminate non-value-added activities from the organization. Smaller facilities are at a particular advantage in this area, as they are less likely to have internal bureaucracy limitations.

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