The business environment is constantly changing, and enterprises have to regularly come up with new and better ways to improve their operations and increase revenue generation. Healthcare organizations have to maintain a sound balance sheet in order to deliver services better. Patients have become very concerned about efficiency and getting value for money, hence the need for hospitals to improve their operations and enhance their bottom lines. There are several challenges that affect healthcare organizations and hinder their efforts to register better performances in different aspects such as customer satisfaction, revenue generation and efficiency. How then can a hospital overcome some of these challenges and improve the performance of the organization?
Customer Relationship Management
Even in the healthcare sector, managing relationships between the patients and the hospital is very important. A healthcare organization should ensure that patients, who in this sense are the customers, are handled respectfully and that their concerns are addressed in good time. Putting in place proper channels of communication is an ideal way of receiving complaints and tracking the progress of solutions. Having an integrated system to manage customer service in the organization allows for a systematic way to deal with issues raised by customers and offer meaningful solutions. There are many hospitals providing similar services, and most of the times a patient will opt to go for treatment at an institution that has better customer service management practices. The image of a brand greatly impacts its overall performance. Creating a positive organizational image plays a key role in improving the bottom line of the enterprise.
Manage new service lines to increase revenue
A healthcare organization should develop new revenue streams in order to increase its market share as well as profitability. This is one of the most effective ways of dealing with reductions in net payments. Before adding a new service line, the hospital should conduct proper research and carry out feasibility studies before making a decision. Jumping on a service line, for example, cancer treatment, simply because it’s historically profitable, may not work out in the end. It is important to study the demographics of the organization’s location and then determine which types of services are needed the most. You should also look at what the competition is offering and the types of services that would have the most number of referrals. Remember that this is a business decision and should be treated as such Hospitals should also study the existing service lines and see which ones are draining money out of the organization. Dropping these types of services and focusing on the crucial ones allows the organization to pay attention to what really keeps the business afloat. A hospital should be aware of what the surrounding community needs and then attend to those needs.
Better Revenue Cycle Management
Revenue cycle management and medical billing are some of the main business drivers for healthcare service providers. Managing the revenue cycle effectively and efficiently makes it possible for hospitals to increase profitability and therefore offer more and better services. This is even more important for hospitals that outsource different partnerships for service provision and equipment supplies. Contracting a company that offers efficient medical billing solutions helps the hospital to cut on costs and increase revenue collection and profitability. It ensures the timely payment of bills and proper management of accounts which is critical for any organization that wants to have a sound financial position. This, in turn, results in a robust and thriving medical practice. With the rise in medical insurance uptake, there is a need for healthcare organizations to develop better ways to follow up on claims and monitor payments. Having a good medical billing system is no longer just an option but more of a necessity for any hospital that wants to register better performances.
Using technology to provide offsite diagnostics and monitoring
Technology has become an integral part of our daily lives. Apart from making life easier by reducing the amount of time taken to accomplish certain tasks, it has also improved how we interact with the rest of the world. Thanks to technology, the world has become a global village with the relaying of information made much easier. Nearly the whole concept of healthcare is based on technology. Hospitals should incorporate new technologies into their normal operations in order to enhance service delivery and cater to their patients’ needs better. Technology can be used to provide offsite diagnostics and monitor the health of patients even when they are away from the hospital premises. Some of these include teleradiology and remote cardiac monitoring. Tele-radiology makes it possible for images were taken at one place to be transmitted and interpreted at a different location by trained professionals. This is mostly used for patients who are too ill to be moved. Remote cardiac monitoring, on the other hand, allows doctors to monitor patients with cardiac conditions remotely. They can then be alerted in case of changes and then act to prevent further deterioration. These remote services have revolutionized the health sector and made the provision of services better and more efficient.
Cut the cost of supplies
Reducing the number of resources spent on supplies greatly trims the cost of expenditure on the hospital’s budget. This can be achieved by working with physicians and vendors. Physicians can make financially responsible decisions and cut the wastage of hospital resources. Most of the medical material and equipment used in the hospital are directly handled by physicians. When they are used economically, wastage is minimized and with that, expenditure. Management can also negotiate with vendors for better contracts. Getting discounts and asking for better prices when purchases are made in bulk is an ideal way to reduce the amount of money spent on supplies.
Properly managing the human resource
The human resource aspect of the organization should be well managed for a good organizational performance. This can be achieved by establishing proper communication channels, taking their opinions into account, reasonable pay, and better working conditions. Staff training should also be done on a regular basis to improve their skills and help them serve patients better.
The healthcare industry is majorly service oriented and therefore a lot of emphases must be placed on efficiency. Having systems that function properly helps in improving operations and at the same time enables the smooth running of the organization’s core functions. The above steps are effective in improving the overall performance of the hospital and positioning it as a premier service provider.
Sathya Kumar is the Founder & CEO at Techindia Infoway Pvt Ltd., Chennai. Techindia is Asia’s largest provider of healthcare management solutions for exceptional remote healthcare diagnostics and patient monitoring, with a proven track of high performance for highly regulated healthcare industries and for the patients globally.