In healthcare management, operational dilemmas are common because of tighter operating budgets and rising energy costs. Healthcare managers struggle to address these operations constraints to provide better efficiency in their hospitals.
So, what is hospital efficiency?
The following terms measure efficiency in a hospital:
- The number of patients treated
- The number of surgical procedures done
- The average time it takes to admit a patient
- Diagnostic tests and treatments performed
Generally, hospital efficiency is all about keeping costs low and making a decent profit while catering to patient needs. Here are some tips that can help in improving hospital efficiency.
- Increasing operating room utilization
In most hospitals, operating rooms account for 65% revenue and more than 60% admissions. Unfortunately, block scheduling procedures fail at improving patient access, care quality, surgeon satisfaction, and optimizing operating room time.
Additionally, current methods such as faxes, phone calls, and emails make block scheduling time-consuming, tiresome, slow, and error-prone. To improve OR scheduling, healthcare managers need to adopt cloud computing services, mobile technologies, and predictive analysis.
- Using data to predict patterns
Data is becoming an integral part of healthcare management as it allows managers to collect and analyze information to improve efficiency. For instance, staffing data can project a hospital’s staffing need. This way, healthcare managers can come up with practical solutions that ensure adequate staff is available to cater to patients.
Also, hospital data can predict patient volume, ensuring the staffing levels on that day are sufficient enough to reduce patient wait time. Hence, a hospital can save money by assigning the correct number of providers to the predicted patient volume, minimizing staffing waste.
- Streamlining emergency department operations
The emergency department is one of the most chaotic areas in a hospital. From patients waiting for lab results to inadequate staffing, this department can get overwhelming. Luckily, by using analytics-driven software, healthcare managers can arrange emergency department activities in order of efficiency.
This reduces patient wait times. For example, if a patient needs their blood drawn and an X-ray, knowing which sequence to follow that is more efficient can make better use of ED resources and save patients time.
Healthcare managers can also use software to show a patient’s journey through the emergency department in real-time and reveal historic delays. Therefore, allowing providers to develop practical solutions that eliminate delays and reroute patient traffic.
- Technology integration
The use of technology in healthcare management has changed operations in hospitals and the quality of care. For instance, managers can use technology to access online databases and reach doctors easily, improving operations, and ultimately efficiency.
Moreover, using healthcare technology can significantly improve testing and imaging for better prevention and treatment of life-threatening conditions. These include Sonography, X-ray Computed Tomography, Electrocardiography, and Magnetic Resource Imaging.
Alternatively, healthcare managers can use technology to minimize medical errors, such as prescription medication errors.
- Accelerated discharge planning
Healthcare management entails the oversight and management of all healthcare systems, including discharge planning. More often than not, managers focus on admitting patients and scheduling treatments, forgetting their discharge.
Unfortunately, this results in discharge delays due to several reasons, e.g.
- Insurance verification problems
- Lack of post-discharge care
- Lack of transportation
To streamline the discharging process, providers can use proper analytical tools that project which patients are more likely to run into discharge problems. Then, the discharge planning process of these patients can begin as early as their admission, increasing patient access, and discharge.
- Barcodes for inventory management
Tagging healthcare equipment as soon as they arrive at a facility helps with the organization process. Using bar code tags, for example, ensures the maintenance of equipment to the required standard code. Also, when disposing of equipment, managers can use barcodes to identify and remove them from the facility’s records.
With these tips, healthcare management can improve hospital efficiency and improve quality of care.