Healthcare costs are rising globally and so are the patient’s expectations on their treatment roadmaps and its possible consequences. Therefore, there is a challenging proposition faced by today’s healthcare organizations. They have to repeatedly address battling conflicting priorities with the available resources and existing constraints.
Some of the challenges faced include-
– Delivering high quality healthcare services with minimal costs
– Maintaining thorough patient safety
– Addressing hospital security issues
– Scaling up to latest technology innovations
– Reducing medication errors
– Encouraging retention of qualified and trained medical staff
– Preventing outbreaks of any infectious/contagious diseases
– Proactively participating and undertaking preventive medication programmes
Hospitals are a vital component of the healthcare sector and play a crucial role in patient outcomes. They are undergoing magnificent transformations as they are making the transition away from traditional fee-for-service/volume-driven services to more of fee- for -value services and addressing community health. This poses sufficient risks and calls for strategies and solutions to mitigate the same.
Some Major Hospital Risks and Solutions for mitigating them
Risk #1 -Ensuring Patient Safety – Patient Safety is one the most critical aspects of hospital management. It is very challenging to ensure high-quality error-free patient care, simultaneously maintaining the hospital’s reputation. Patient Safety pertains to:
– physical safety in terms of minimizing the risk of all infectious diseases like Swine Flu and Ebola, medical equipment hazards, shortage of emergency medicine and also preventing potential risks such as power failures and absence of emergency care staff
– maintaining confidentiality of patient data so that unauthorized access is prohibited.
– tackling incidents like infant kidnappings, missing patients, violence and addressing theft of medicines and other medical equipment and hospital assets.
Solution: Adoption of adequate hygienic standards, fool-proof integrated security mechanisms, required disinfection techniques, preventive medications including vaccines and immunisation methods and appropriate waste disposal mechanisms for thwarting spread of infection diseases to both patients and caretakers. For retaining confidentiality of patient data, strict adherence to regulatory issues and deployment of sophisticated Hospital and Patient Information Systems with right authentication and access is recommended.
Risk #2- Ensuring high productivity with minimal costs – Hospitals are one of the most demanding and people –centric buildings which need to be available 24/7.With substantial increase in healthcare costs, energy demands and number of aged patients worldwide, there is tremendous pressure to achieve more with less resources without losing quality of health care services.
Solution: Adoption of Supply Chain Techniques in Healthcare, Hospital Infrastructure and Facility Planning and Adoption to latest energy saving resources can drive cost cutting measures and give a competitive edge to hospitals.
Risk #3-Meeting Regulatory Compliances-Hospitals must be equipped to meet various complex rules and regulations. This framework defines guidelines and expectations for health care quality, reimbursement and delivery. Though these were designed to enhance quality and efficiency of patient care, the entire adherence process involved is perceived as burdening and impractical.
Solution: Adopting standards, well defined processes, Total Quality Management and Benchmarking in Health Care and meeting specified deadlines for Compliance issues aids in efficiency and better outcomes. It is to be noted that this initiative must be deployed and supported system wide by the complete hospital chain.
Risk # 4 – Understanding and achieving Patient Satisfaction through value for service models –Though Patient Satisfaction may not be directly quantifiable, the comfort and health of patients is vital in reducing length of hospital stay and preventing readmissions. Patient satisfaction also has a direct impact on hospital’s income.
Solution: The hospital should adopt strategies that are value based and focus on long term benefits rather than merely looking at short term gains in fees based on volumes. Hospitals should align their entire staff, both medical and non-medical, for thinking and working towards this initiative.
Risk # 5 – Taking Investment Decisions on Technology Integration-Hospitals cannot function appropriately using disparate and disjoint health information systems. Hospitals must integrate their service portfolio throughout the full continuum and not merely cater to ‘inpatient’ components. For achieving that, integration with all concerned healthcare providers and systems is needed. Getting patient information instantly and in real-time since time pays a crucial role in not just meeting needs but also in saving lives by aiding physicians in decision making and information sharing.
Solution: Making Information Technology investments in hospitals wherein its goals and incentives offered are in synchronism. This ensures that authentic medical information is available for decision making at finger tips anytime and anywhere but with controlled access to retain its security.
Besides these, hospitals also face challenges in dealing with staff shortages, increased compliance demands, tacking environmental issues and gearing up for future healthcare innovations.
As demands of healthcare are soaring up, hospitals have to adopt patient centric approaches for delivery of value-based care along with cost efficient measures. To achieve this, Healthcare Consulting Services(HCS) play a major role in developing strategies that seamlessly aid hospitals in their efficient and productive functioning. The expertise and balanced management approaches of HCS not only drives the hospitals to successfully combat current challenges, but also, proactively equips them in being ‘future ready’ for technology innovations and patient demands in the days to come!
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