Better Efficiency Can Lead to Better Care and a Better Bottom Line

An industry survey conducted by HealthLeaders, entitled “Better Care and the Bottom Line,” recently caught my eye. As part of the survey, HealthLeaders asked 289 healthcare executives what they believe are the major drivers of waste in healthcare today and what they believe can help fix the problem. The respondents listed the following as the key contributors to waste:

  • Operational inefficiency
  • Overutilization of services
  • Lack of system integration

“Adopting nationwide best practices across the healthcare continuum” and “improving process inefficiencies” were cited by 52% and 46%, respectively as two of the top three “interventions most likely to significantly reduce the overall cost structure of healthcare.”

Clearly, the need to improve operational efficiency is at the top of the list for the majority of healthcare leaders. Those are at the top of the list for any leaders in business.

And while the survey findings didn’t surprise me—and likely won’t surprise you either—I think it’s worth taking a closer look and thinking through ways that organizations can and are improving process inefficiencies to move the needle on healthcare costs.

This study was prompted by the upcoming influx of baby boomer and newly insured patients who will put additional demands on health systems, directly impacting hospitals, blood banks, laboratories, pharmacies and the supply chain. As the number of patients who require care grows, operational inefficiency and lack of integration could spiral out of control – hurting your bottom line. The need for best practices across the healthcare continuum is clear.

It’s difficult for any organization, but in order to contain costs without sacrificing care, it’s important to take an honest and hard look at operations. What do your departments do well? What aren’t they doing so well? When was the last time you had departmental procedures independently assessed?

There are a number of areas of operational inefficiency within healthcare organizations that often go unnoticed. MedSpeed was founded because of one of those areas: healthcare transportation. Every day we see the impact that the movement of patient and business critical materials, such as specimens, blood, supplies and pharmaceuticals has on an organization’s ability to thrive. Without the proper attention and care, healthcare transportation, as well as many other operational areas, can negatively impact care delivery, cause waste and affect an organization’s ability to grow. For more than eleven years, we have been on a mission to improve the quality and efficiency of healthcare through strategic transportation partnerships.

Efforts, such as this survey by HealthLeaders, to help identify areas of opportunity within healthcare organizations are valuable and should be applauded. We are all well aware that healthcare leaders remain under increasing pressure to get the highest value out of every system initiative — without sacrificing service, quality or safety. But we don’t always know how to go about achieving those goals. Sharing ideas and best practices is one very important step. I encourage you to read this survey and to share your thoughts on any other industry articles on reducing waste within healthcare that you have found particularly interesting or helpful.

As healthcare leaders self-reported in this survey, taking a closer look at operational efficiency could be the key to strengthening your organization’s bottom line.

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