Reducing Costs In Healthcare Management With Technology
Nearly one-fifth of the entire U.S. GDP is spent on healthcare each year. With rising labor costs, shifts in population demographics, and the sudden disruption of business due to the current coronavirus pandemic, it is very likely healthcare margins steadily shrink over the next five years. Continuing on the current unsustainable trend can prove catastrophic for the profitability of the healthcare sector in a near future, especially considering the climate of uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.
On a brighter note, the current technology at hand can significantly reduce healthcare organizations’ operational costs if used and implemented properly. In this article, we take a look at the different ways modern technology can lower healthcare running costs, and hence positively impact the end profitability.
3 Ways Modern Technology Can Reduce Healthcare Organizations’ Operational Cost:
Automate administrative tasks to lower staffing costs
The way your organization handles administrative tasks and staffing directly impact your operational costs or even patient care quality. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the current healthcare administration was stretched to the limit, exposing its shortfalls. To cater for unforeseen patient volume or shift coverage shortages, many hospitals are increasingly shifting to voluntary overtime or taking on additional personnel to fill in the gaps. These options are considerably more costly than regular hour payments and can easily prove to be a managerial nightmare to deal with.
One cost-effective option that can drastically improve your organization’s administrative efficiency and operational cost is a cloud scheduling app. These apps come in all shapes and sizes, but most of them make scheduling medical caregivers a breeze and enable better resource management. One key feature that can lower your administrative costs, in the long run, includes creating staff schedules in minutes, allowing you to accurately track down to the cent wage costs.
Additionally, using a scheduling app allows you to better manage shift changes, onboard staff, quickly and send relevant communications directly to your team’s phones and inboxes, along with smart alerts and reminders. These tools provide top management with essential decision-making assistance by enabling hospital-wide schedules that respond to up-to-the-minute situations and use predictive analytics to demonstrate demand for future changes. Estimates by Harvard Business Review suggests this can reduce staffing costs by up to 40 percent when properly implemented.
Supply chain automation technology
Due to economic, cultural, and bureaucratic barriers, the healthcare sector has neglected the adoption of supply-chain management technology. However, modern analytics and software technologies allow for increasingly fine-tuned inventory monitoring, reducing waste, and enhancing resource allocation. With the coronavirus pandemic causing unprecedented disruption of the supplies, it is high time healthcare providers to implement smart inventory and supply chain technology.
Turning to inventory and supply chain automation technology can allow key decisions to be taken based on real-time data. For instance, using wireless radio frequency identification (RFID) tags allows you to remotely track down inventory items throughout their lifecycle, with data such as their current physical location, expiry date, shipping details, and manufacturer. Making use of data processing and automation technology makes monitoring of the whole medical supply chain much more attainable and cost-efficient. More importantly, this allows physicians to focus on providing quality healthcare services, rather than worry about inventory and supply management.
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Targeted digital marketing
In the last two decades, investment in healthcare marketing in the United States has almost doubled as businesses battle for a share of the world’s biggest health care market, a U.S. report indicates. The study showed that annual healthcare advertising increased from $17.7 billion in 1997 to approximately $29.9 billion in 2016, led by a sharp rise in direct-to-consumer marketing for prescription drugs on traditional media (tv ads, newspapers, radio). Aside from its hefty price tag, the main drawback of traditional marketing lies in measuring your return on investment – you have no way of accurately attributing sales results to your advertisement.
Turning to digital marketing is a no brainer: a recent report shows that many people spend more time online instead of sleeping. A recent study by the Journal of Medicine and Life reveals that targeted digital marketing campaigns can result in significantly lower your cost-per-new-patient. Moreover, digital marketing can enable you to target patients suffering from specific conditions with an ad specifically designed for them, while concretely tracking down the number of people who have seen your ads, the number of sales, along with a vast range of additional useful data, such at the best performing ads or even peak time of interest. If you are currently relying solely on traditional marketing efforts, you are leaving money on the table.
Off You Go
The healthcare sector continues to evolve as demographics and regulations shift. Today’s technology can greatly reduce the operational costs associated with healthcare management and take operational efficiency to the next level. Healthcare stakeholders need to keep up and adapt to these changes to stay competitive as the healthcare market gets more crowded day by day.
In the cover picture: A doctor using a smartphone. Photo Credit: Unsplash.
Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed here by Impakter.com contributors are their own, not those of Impakter.com