Whether you’re a healthcare executive, nurse, physician, educator or vendor, you are increasingly responsible for managing both healthcare quality and cost. This is especially true when budgeting for healthcare technology. Now, more than ever, you’ll be asked to prove the return on investment for your spending in terms of care outcomes and cost. In fact, focusing on both in tandem are keys to propelling hospital initiatives forward in 2018.
Picture the dynamic connection between care and cost as a helix, a pair of wires wrapped uniformly around a cylinder like a winding staircase. One “wire” is care, and the other is cost. The inner, perpendicular strands, which keep the two wires connected, are the pushing and pulling of the care- and cost-related activities in the health system.
All of these pieces impact and change how the helix moves. When one side changes, so does the other. The constant and significant changes we’re seeing in healthcare today often make it difficult to institute improvements or even maintain the status quo inside a hospital. Patients feel that burden, too.
Yet even with the radical alteration of the systems hospital staff and leadership are accustomed to, you can improve care and cost if you keep these 4 tactics in mind:
1. Focus on small, but compelling successes.
Pursue specific improvements and technology solutions that directly impact hospital pain points in quantifiable ways. These efforts must yield short-term gains, while also showing a clear path to long-term value. Again, consider the whole care-cost helix, not just cost or just care.
2. Build on what’s already implemented.
“New” initiatives, particularly if the “new” has a big price tag, will be non-starters. Instead, find opportunities to integrate with and enhance existing systems and resources that are already in place. Again, quantifiable gains are a must. This is today’s reality, both internally within hospitals and externally for the vendors serving them.
3. Prove it.
Whether of internal or external origin, hospital solutions are increasingly required to show rapid proof of value and effectiveness, as well as ease of integration with existing systems (think interoperability). Increasingly, a portion of this proof involves patient-reported feedback (PRF) and patient-reported outcomes (PRO) that support the positive impact of initiatives. Including PRF and PRO mechanisms in the solutions you implement now will put you ahead of the game.
4. Query your vendors.
Are you getting what you need from the vendors you committed to years ago? Ask them to report on how they have contributed to your success. Find out what’s new in their world that can inform yours. How have they changed what they do and how they do it? This data is now part of your ROI.
Armed with data, consider the most efficient way to move your agenda forward and see faster results throughout the care-cost helix.