Hospitals and health systems looking to decrease spending can employ various strategies that reduce costs while ultimately improving the overall quality of healthcare. These four strategies are actions healthcare executives can implement to improve quality in healthcare without sacrificing extra budget.
1. Standardize Healthcare Food and Support Services
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Reducing costs and improving the quality of healthcare starts with standardizing certain services. Standardizing food and support services doesn’t lead to a cookie-cutter approach, as many executives may fear. Instead, outsourcing specialties like food and support services reduce overhead costs and free hospital funds for reinvestment in clinicians, technology, and more.
Standardizing through one partner cuts down on variability that can undermine quality. By bundling contracts with one quality partner, hospitals can enjoy lower overall costs while increasing patient satisfaction.
2. Encourage New Ideas From Associates
Frontline associates who do the work often have great ideas for improving processes. Hospitals that foster opportunities for employees at all levels to participate and identify ways to improve services and provide better care can reap the benefits.
Programs that provide proper training and cultivate an environment where associates feel empowered to put forth ideas also boost associate engagement, another key for hospitals looking to reduce costs while improving quality. Hospitals should encourage associates to share their ideas and reward associates to boost engagement.
3. Prioritize Safety
All hospitals want to provide the best care and achieve the best outcome for their patients. Hospitals that actively focus on safety within the organization can make the healthcare setting safer not only for patients but also for their families and hospital associates. That, in turn, helps reduce costs over time while improving the quality of care patients receive.
Improved safety processes can lead to savings by cutting down on money spent on costs associated with patient infections. With about one in 25 patients diagnosed with at least one healthcare-associated infection, or HAI, each year in hospitals alone, simple measures like an increased focus on hand hygiene and implementation of systematic cleaning processes provide an amazing opportunity for hospitals to improve patient experience and reduce patient risk of acquiring an infection during their stay.
4. Invest in Technology
Hospitals that see their revenue decrease feel pressure to contain costs, so executives may automatically want to avoid capital spending. Cutting down spending can be useful in some ways, but there are certain areas where executives should not stop spending entirely.
Executives can look to identify areas in technology where capital can be invested for growth in the future. Investments into patient portals, informational systems, and more may require more capital upfront in the short term, but in the long term will improve the patient experience.
Healthcare executives looking to improve quality without sacrificing extra budget should look to strategic standardization in areas such as food and support services while encouraging new ideas from associates and prioritizing safety. Then, executives can reinvest money saved into new technology, a move that can reduce costs going forward for hospitals and healthcare systems.