Figuring out some bright ideas to help save hospitals money is a daunting task in a world filled with costly equipment, huge overhead and large staffs. However, there is more than one way to cut back and see some budget savings.
Bright Ideas to Help Save Hospitals Money
During an economic recession, it's not just the patients who are having trouble keeping up with their bills. Hospitals also experience more difficulty staying afloat. In the January 2009 issue of TrendWatch, produced by the American Hospital Association, the article The Economic Downturn and Its Impact on Hospitals highlights the ways in which hospitals are now struggling, from fewer patients who can pay their bills to fewer philanthropic donations being brought in.
These problems are causing many department heads and CEOs to find some bright ideas to help hospitals save money without reducing their efficiency or quality of healthcare.
Cost Saving Initiatives
Looking at the overall budget is the place to begin for a hospital when it seeks to reduce costs. Some areas that may end up saving significantly over time include:
- Labor: Instead of reducing the number of employees, many hospitals focus on employee training and efficiency. A happy, well-trained employee who gets more work done in less time helps cut costs. This also saves money on seeking out and training new hires.
- Partnerships and Outsourcing: Rather than building a new lab to fit regulations or hiring a new specialist, many hospitals share responsibilities with other local health care facilities. Labs may be sent to another facility that can process them quickly, safely and cheaply; and specialists may do rotations at different hospitals instead of being on staff at just one, which means their salary is split amongst several facilities.
- Construction: Hospitals might be in need of additional rooms or new bathroom facilities. It may save significant costs to consider renovating current spaces instead of building new additions onto the hospital.
- Going Green: Direct Energy Business outlines several things for hospitals to check to maximize their savings by being more energy efficient.
More bright ideas for saving money are found in at HealthLeaders Media. In addition to regular updates on cutting edge strategies, you can also subscribe to their fact file alerts that pertain to finance.
Money Saving Consultants
In a hospital setting, overworked CEOs, financial heads and department supervisors may not have time to go over their budgets and see where the excess costs are going. Hiring a money-saving consultant, versed in hospital management, can offer new ideas and think outside the box. An experienced consultant will be able to look at the overall picture and offer up innovative ideas that have worked in similar situations elsewhere and draw upon expertise knowledge to offer cost cutting recommendations.
However, hiring a consultant does require an initial investment, not only of money but also of support. If not everyone is in agreement about putting some of the advice into practice, the money paid to the consultant will have been wasted.
Safety v. Savings
No matter how great the bright ideas to help save hospitals money might be, it is important for everyone to consider safety ramifications before implementing the idea. For example, The Washington Post's article Hospitals Save Money, But Safety Is Questioned from 2005 discusses the problems caused by reusing medical equipment meant for one-time use only. Whenever patient care is called into question by a savings measure, it is important to consider long-term ramifications of the idea.
Once a money-saving idea has been implemented, it is important to track whether or not the idea works. Some ideas require an initial cost, which makes them take longer to create the savings. Keep this in mind when projecting savings over months or years. Hospitals should carefully review cost cutting measures on a regular basis to be sure that they are creating savings instead of additional work or waste.