Ensuring Operational Efficiency and Effective Cost Cutting in Healthcare Settings – Best Practices

Operational efficiency has become paramount in healthcare systems with the ever increasing patient base, and the challenge inherent in rising up to the demand for unique patient care services. Healthcare organizations looking to cut down administrative costs find it to be a really testing task and are constantly on the lookout for potent cost cutting strategies. The efforts to cut costs should not prove detrimental to care providers’ vested objective, i.e. ensuring patient and employee satisfaction. Another vital consideration is that no strategy can be successful unless the administrative as well as clinical staff in an organization works in coordination.Using outsourced services has proven beneficial for many healthcare and other businesses looking to save valuable dollars. While it is a known fact that cost cutting is the primary spur for the rise of outsourcing, at present outsourcing has moved much beyond a mere cost saving strategy. Outsourced services such as medical billing and coding services, medical website design and medical website optimization are provided by BPO companies that work side by side with their client healthcare providers. Apart from ensuring cost savings in the range of 20% to 30%, outsourcing is also a way of achieving easy scalability within a short period of time.The Banner Health ModelA recent HBR (Harvard Business Review) blog highlighted how Banner Health, a prominent health system in the US successfully achieved efficiency as well as cost reduction through a successful strategy. Banner Health had lost hundreds of millions of dollars as a result of plummeting patient volume and reduced reimbursements during the recession. However, they were able to secure $70 million in savings during 2012 – 2013. It is expected that by the year 2017 Banner Health will have $256 million contributed each year to its bottom line by this savings. How did this $5 billion nonprofit system achieve this?They assiduously followed a sensible cost reduction policy, while always keeping in view their core values.Banner Health avoided adopting industry benchmarks in their cost-cutting endeavor and focused on a savings target based on their own performance.
They educated employees of the inevitability of cost cutting measures and the need for a process redesign across the system to improve patient care. They were able to remove the fear of impending layoffs from the employees’ minds. They also convinced the employees how cost cutting would help them invest in new constructive initiatives aimed at better coordinating, standardizing and integrating care provision.People from across the health system were asked to collaborate in cost reduction efforts. This definitely helped them to identify tens of millions of dollars in savings and at the same time ensure support of staff and frontline leaders. Banner’s team invited recommendations from the team to reduce the general and administrative (G&A) costs.
The senior leadership reviewed 123 recommendations, of which 116 (valued at $104 to $133 million annually or 18 – 24 percent of Banner’s G&A expense) were approved. These recommendations included opportunities to save at least $8 million through insourcing second physician reviews of inpatient charts, $4 million in human resource administration by implementing more self-service technology in collaboration with a shared services organization, and $3.5 million by creating an internal facility for drug compounding and packaging. This strategy was successful since by the latter half of 2012, Banner Health could recover $31 million in G&A savings.The team went on to work on its clinical operations as well, beginning with Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center in Phoenix. The physicians at the hospital were included in the team and they were asked to contribute their ideas. Banner Health’s strategy was effective because physicians are a necessary component of any team working to ensure optimum patient care and at the same time bring about significant cost reduction. Clinicians are knowledgeable in clinical functions and operations; they can drive revenue generation and are directly involved in patient care services. Here again the health system could reduce the cost structure by 15% and secured $15 million in direct savings over the next 12 months. Banner North Colorado benefited from the same strategy that was set in motion there as well, capturing more than $13 million in annual savings the first year itself.Banner Health implemented a system-wide optimization program covering all of its 23 acute care hospitals and healthcare facilities. Their success lies in the fact that they were able to create an awareness regarding the significance of cost control throughout the workforce.A Case for OutsourcingWith the healthcare reform and related requirements, healthcare providers and health plans are finding it advantageous to outsource information technology, business processing and call center tasks. Outsourcing will allow a more efficient and potent combination of capabilities and resources. Expert observers endorse the fact that third party collaboration will help ensure better performance, increased efficiency and of course cost reduction. While physicians can make use of an outsourcing service to handle medical billing and coding requirements, there are service providers that use technology to connect payer and provider in real time. With this, providers can check for patient eligibility, referral policies, limits on service and the financial responsibility of patients. Providers can also submit claims in real time.Outsourcing will prove to be a wise investment if it is assigned to a firm that follows the required standards for accuracy and turnaround time. Consider the references and talk to clients using the same company so that an informed decision can be made. It is true that outsourcing involves loss of control to a certain extent, and that is why it is vital to choose a reliable and reputable outsourcing partner.It is apparent that in these tough times, cost cutting has become a necessary measure for all businesses including those involved in healthcare provision. Banner Health’s example proves how all members of a healthcare system can be constructively involved in cost saving efforts. Identifying and implementing best practices in cost reduction, including the use of healthcare outsourcing services is the need of the day for health systems striving to bring about a sea change in the quality and cost of care.

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A Guide to Help You Pick the Best Air Purifier for Your Loved Ones

Holidays are around the corner. This is the time of year when people start purchasing gifts for their loved ones. If you are going to purchase an air purifier for someone you love, we have some helpful tips for you. If you want to purchase the best unit, you may be able to use this guide to your advantage. Read on to find out more.

1: Set Your Budget

Just like anything you purchase, make sure you have set your budget first. The price of the unit will vary based on a lot of factors, such as the capacity, filter type, features, and brand of the unit. If you don’t have a flexible budget, we suggest that you go for a product that is available to purchase for less than $300.

2: Consider the Needs of the Recipient

Your next move is to consider the needs of your recipient. If you are going to purchase this unit for everyday use, we suggest that you go for a unit that comes with a HEPA filter. On the other hand, if your loved one has a specific need, we suggest that you consider a specialized unit.

For example, if they are more prone to respiratory issues, such as allergies and infections, we suggest that you get a UV purifier for them. The devices are designed to neutralize viruses and bacteria.

3: Think About the Available Space

Another primary factor is to consider the available space in the office or house of the recipient. For example, if they need a general-purpose unit for a small apartment, you may want to consider a filterless unit.

On the other hand, if they have plenty of free space, you may consider a bigger unit that features a higher airflow rating. These units are powerful enough to cover a large face.

4: Consider Extra Features

Lastly, we suggest that you consider additional features that they will just love. For example, some units come with an indicator that turns on when the filter needs to be replaced. This will allow the user to change the filter so that the device continues to work properly.

So, you may want to consider these features before you place your order. These features may not be important to you, but your friend may just be over the moon.

Long story short, we suggest that you consider these four tips if you are going to purchase a gift for your loved one on these holidays. Since the air is full of pollution during winter days, nothing can make a better gift than an air purifier. Therefore, you should consider these tips before looking for an online or physical store to make your purchase decision.

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The Significance of Pure Air Inside Your Home

Have you ever climbed up mountains? If so, what do you do when you reach the top? Most people open their arms, close their eyes, and take a deep breath. That is the special thing about clean and fresh air. You feel like taking a pause and inhaling fresh air. Over the past year, we have faced several waves of coronavirus. These days, we have been warned about another wave of this virus. Therefore, the importance of clean air has been increasing day by day. In this article, we are going to find out why air quality is important when it comes to our indoor environment.

The impact of pollution on your indoor air

No matter where you go, you will have to face the consequences of poor quality. Even if you are alone in your home, you will still be prone to polluted air. Every year, more than 1 million people lose their life because of air pollution.

According to some reports, India is among the top 10 countries in the world with the worst air quality. The effect of polluted air is more evident as people spend over 90% of their time inside their homes. Another research study found that residents are at a greater risk of covid-19.

As a matter of fact, indoor air pollution has become an international concern. We can say that pollution levels inside and in closed spaces are up to five times higher. Since most pollutants are not visible to the naked eye, you may not be able to aware of the dangers of dirty air.

Indoor air pollutants may be generated by common household items, such as cleaning agents, cooking fuel, furniture polish, pet dander, and paint. Apart from this, domestic appliances such as refrigerators and heaters may also be the common source.

Since homes are not airtight, air pollutants can easily get in. For example, smog, smoke, mold spores, and dust can get into your house through your windows or doors. Air conditioners can be used to cool down your rooms. But the downside is that they can also boost the movement of pollutants across your house.

What can you do to purify your indoor air?

Basically, air purifiers are simple devices that receive dirty air and put it out after passing it through powerful filters. Nowadays, you can choose from hundreds of air purification units available in the market. They are based on a wide range of technologies. They are available in different sizes to cover rooms of different sizes.

Nowadays, most types of air purifiers depend on HEPA technology. Initially, this technology was introduced in the 40s in order to capture pollutants from the air. Although these filters have been used for the filtration of particulate matter, they may not be that effective when it comes to eliminating volatile organic compounds.

Therefore, if you are worried about your health, we suggest that you invest in a type of device that comes with a HEPA filter. With these units, filtering your indoor air will be a piece of cake. Therefore, you can count on these devices to and ensure clean air inside your house.

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