It’s a proven and well-documented fact that the more hospitals invest in the patient experience, the more profitable they become (see our previous blog posts for details). With this fact in mind, it makes perfect sense for your hospital to build a strategy which prioritizes investing in the Patient Experience. But let’s take a quick reality check here… not every hospital has tens of thousands of dollars hiding down the back of their couch to fund this new strategy… so where could the money come from? Here’s a few ideas…
Review your suppliers
Save tens or even hundreds of thousands per year simply by keeping your suppliers in check. That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to price compare every single item you purchase… but think about making a “virtual basket” of 200-300 representative items that are regular purchased across the hospital (ranging from stationary and sanitary items through to prosthetics and medical equipment) and price checking them once a quarter. If you find items that are more expensive than they should be… dig deeper into that particular supplier. Is it a one off, or is this supplier not delivering value across the board? If so, approach them with your findings and if you can’t negotiate a better price – move onwards to a new supplier.
It seems obvious at first and perhaps you already have a waste reduction plan in place, but how far are you taking it and are you thinking outside of the box? Aside from the obvious “don’t print anything unless you need it” stance, what about reviewing the magazine subscriptions across the departments. Are there duplications? Are some simply not needed and nobody’s bothered to cancel them. Changing paper towels to electric dryers is also good as is maintaining a tighter stock control on perishable items. Then there’s food waste – measuring portion sizes could have a huge impact on this and what about the thousands of paper and plastic cups that get used every year… could staff be encouraged to have their own reusable cups?
Reduce Energy and Water Consumption
The greener your hospital can become the better. Invest in low energy lighting with sensors that automatically turn the lights off in rooms after a period of inactivity. If that’s too much… some simple signage and a communication to all staff reminding them to turn lights off in areas not in use can work just as well. Invest in efficient sanitary equipment. Repair dripping faucets and faulty toilets flush valves and don’t use water unnecessarily. If you have outside grounds and a sprinkler system – think about the time of day you choose to put this on and if you’re needlessly watering part of the grounds with no vegetation.
Yes, this sounds a bit obscure doesn’t it but there are two key areas in which communication can be used to cut costs. The first is better communication with patients. Having a communication strategy in place to minimize patient no-shows is essential and means your physicians won’t be left in limbo when their patient doesn’t arrive. Listening fully to a patient’s problems and their reasons for being in front of you also means less needless diagnostic tests. Away from the patients, better inter-team communication reduces errors, builds best practice and ensure efficient ways of working and that should always be encouraged.
Do your research… and then get someone else to do more research
If you’re making a new, significant purchase – make sure you do your research. Whether it’s a new seating system for the reception area, a brand new medical device or a new EHR system… one thing you must not do is rely on one person’s research to make your decision. Fully map out the needs that this purchase is fulfilling and then invite multiple vendors to advise and tender for the purchase. Once you have the tenders in-hand, invite a selection of people to review them (including a representative from the end user group) before making your final decision.
So there you go, 5 strategies to give your hospital more money to invest in the Patient Experience. Of course, once you’re ready to invest in the patient experience, you’ll need to speak to us. Here at HCXP – it’s what we’re all about. Our unique tablet-based electronic surveys allow your patients to provide direct feedback about every aspect of your hospital… helping you to improve faster and become even more profitable. To learn more about our technology and to talk about improving the patient experience in your medical facility, contact us right now at 707.654.HCXP (4297)