Financial pressures are leaving health systems exploring ways to reduce the cost of healthcare without compromising patients' health and safety. The balance between cost and patient care is fragile. Hospitals must strategically examine ways to bring reduce costs, otherwise, they run the risk of compromising care and ultimately increasing spending. The following three tips can help your organization get started.
How to Reduce the Cost of Healthcare Without Compromising Patients' Health and Safety
Support Healthcare Staff to Reduce Burnout and Turnover
Healthcare organizations that want to reduce the cost of healthcare without compromising patients' health and safety should ask, "How can we improve our staff's work experience?" Support staff by fostering a welcoming workplace, eliminating obstacles to performing work, and empowering staff to succeed. A focus on supporting existing healthcare staff helps retain healthcare workers, saving money that would otherwise go toward recruiting and reconnects staff to your healthcare organization's caring mission.
To support healthcare staff, focus on the following areas:
- Training and development: Extra training and development opportunities equip associates to do their jobs well. Training and development opportunities also provide incentives for associates to stay at an organization, further contributing to long-term cost reduction.
- Retaining associates: Decreasing turnover reduces costs. Providing a positive work environment is a fundamental component of keeping associates at an organization. Monitor overtime and scheduling, and your staff's ability to take breaks to help combat burnout.
- Celebrating associates: Consistently recognizing and publicly expressing gratitude for hospital teams and associates improve engagement and retention. Associates who receive recognition are more likely to stay with an organization, according to a Gallup report.
- Reducing nonclinical work: For clinical healthcare workers, remove barriers that prevent them from spending time caring for patients. Patient sitter services, for example, improves nurse safety and make sure they are operating at the top of their license.
Optimize Scheduling, Staffing, and Patient Flow
Optimization offers another way to reduce the cost of healthcare without compromising patients' health and safety. Hospitals can examine how patients move throughout their facilities to create a standardized flow. Optimizing patient flow decreases delays and wait times for patients, preserves dedicated staff resources, and ensures maximum occupancy for each bed.
Hospitals can also reduce costs by taking a close look at their required staff at any given time. Examining hospital data trends can help leaders determine the best staffing strategy for all departments. Use data to understand when the patient census is likely to increase or decrease, and adjust staffing to match those trends.
Bundle Contracts With One Partner
Standardization provides another way for hospitals to reduce the cost of healthcare without compromising patients' health and safety. Start with specialties like foodservice, EVS, HR, IT, labs, or other support services. Outsourcing and standardizing these services reduces overhead and frees up money hospitals can reinvest in other functions.
Healthcare organizations must perform outsourcing intentionally because too many vendors and protocols can waste more money, while variability can undermine patient care and satisfaction. By standardizing services with one partner that aligns with a hospital culturally and operationally, healthcare organizations can lower overall costs.
Healthcare organizations that use strategies to reduce staff burnout can optimize scheduling and patient flow. In turn, they can streamline contracts when managing spending to reduce the cost of healthcare without compromising patients' health and safety in the process.