Challenge: Increasing Cost of Healthcare
The cost of providing healthcare continues being steep, and it is a continuous problem. Millions of people get sick every day and there are new emerging diseases that are causing an influx in healthcare facilities. Nurses in practice continue facing numerous challenges that come with this congestion of patients in hospitals. Some of the problems include stress, fatigue, and other issues. However, aside from the clinical effects, one major challenge that is affecting nurses, healthcare facilities, and healthcare systems is an increase in healthcare costs which is facing almost every healthcare facility. According to Shrank et al., (2021), the increase in healthcare costs affects almost every department and the delivery of healthcare services in a facility. It leads to the inability of a healthcare organization to provide efficient and effective healthcare services. This leads to poor client satisfaction and lower patient turnout due to lack of standard and high-quality healthcare services.
The decline in facility revenues affects the nurses’ provision of healthcare services to patients. Some nurses even lose their jobs in the facility’s aim to reduce healthcare costs. Some measures involve nurses working for few hours to reduce the amount of compensation they receive. According to Toader (2014), the extent of the damage caused by the increase in healthcare costs depends on the measures the healthcare facility’s management decides to take. This affects the morale of healthcare providers and their intrinsic motivation. Every nurse wants to provide healthcare in an environment where there is a chance for them to fully exploit their knowledge, potential, and skills without limitations. They want to work with a healthcare organization that can allow them achieve their personal short-term and long-term goals which may include a better compensation and many other goals.
Strategies of Resolving the Challenge of Increased Healthcare costs
Standardization of Services
For any healthcare organization focused on cost reduction in healthcare, standardization is its best opportunity. For instance, some of the reasons for the rise of healthcare costs is different departments working separately with huge budges. Outsourcing specialties such as pharmacies, laboratory services, information technology, and human resources will help in reducing costs. It will help in reducing overhead costs and save up some dollars that can be invested in crucial areas and functions such as clinicians. Having too many and complex specialties can consume a lot of money and complicate the provision of effective and efficient healthcare services.
Streamlining patient flow
Streamlining the way patients enter and leave the facility will help a lot in regulating financial costs. Some hospitals are experiencing the problem of long queues which are not only costly to the patient but also cost the healthcare facility financially. “Standardizing how patients move around in your hospital is a great way to reduce costs and improve the quality of care” (Compass One Healthcare, 2018). Ensuring there is enough staff to handle patients as they come in and leave the facility will ensure a high level of efficiency and effectiveness. It will promote the provision of high-quality healthcare services and this will attract clients to the facility, thus increasing revenue. In addition, the optimization of patient flow will see the facility reduce patient wait times and delays, preserve resources, and ensure the facility can handle the maximum number.
Other important strategies include managing the healthcare staff and reducing patient readmissions. Managing the healthcare staff does not mean laying-off nurses. It includes reducing over-time, encouraging coordination, and training. These are essential strategies in reducing costs. Patient readmissions are another cause of increased healthcare costs. Therefore, ensuring proper admission, handling, and discharge of patients will help a lot in reducing hospital readmissions while increasing the quality of care.
Generally, every healthcare facility has to focus on managing healthcare costs. An increase in healthcare costs is a danger to a healthcare organization and essential strategies must be put in place to prevent the rise in costs. Issues such as long wait times and too many complex specialties lead to an increase in healthcare costs for facilities. Standardizing services, streamlining patient flow, minimizing overtime, and reducing readmissions are essential in reducing healthcare costs.
Compass One Healthcare (2018). Cost Reduction Strategies for Health Systems. Retrieved from https://www.compassonehealthcare.com/blog/cost-reduction-strategies-health-systems/ (Links to an external site.)
Shrank, W. H., DeParle, N. A., Gottlieb, S., Jain, S. H., Orszag, P., Powers, B. W., & Wilensky, G. R. (2021). Health Costs And Financing: Challenges And Strategies For A New Administration: Commentary recommends health cost, financing, and other priorities for a new US administration. Health Affairs, 40(2), 235-242.
Toader, E. (2014). The effects of rising healthcare costs on the US economy. American Journal of Medical Research, 1(2), 44-50.
Those are great suggestions for ensuring adequate staffing. I am a believer in cross-training staff so they may be utilized in similar areas when the need arises. The other benefit is to the staff members themselves as they expand their skills.
Many of your classmates are working on projects designed to improve patient education with increased and improved interactions, with the goal of reducing readmissions.
Do any hospitals that you are aware of have specific discharge and outreach teams to work with these high-risk for readmission patients? I’d love to hear how these are organized and how effective they might be.
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