Managing Hospital Operations More Important than Ever
Rising costs have made it more important than ever to evaluate and improve the operational efficiency of hospitals. While the primary objective of any hospital is to offer quality healthcare services to the surrounding community, hospital leaders must ensure that their financial health enables them to sustain and serve the community for many years to come.
Another challenge hospitals face is grappling with diminishing cash reserves and declining patient volumes. In cases where those issues are not addressed, hospitals can find themselves in a financial and operational performance crisis.
Operational assessment plays a critical role in ensuring that community hospitals run efficiently. Simply put, an operational assessment process detects challenges, identifies the root cause(s) for those challenges, and outlines a plan to make improvements.
At Community Hospital Corporation, we carry out operational assessments to help identify areas where hospitals can reduce expenses and improve their net revenue. When testing the operational performance of any hospital, we focus on issues such as strategy, supply chain, operations, staffing, finance, revenue cycle, facility leadership, and medical staff issues. In this way, we work with the management to determine the status of the hospital objectively. Regardless of whether a medical facility is in distress or operating well, this process will help to enhance performance so the facility can achieve its goals.
Path to Sustainability
Operations and Expense Management. Before taking any action that is designed to improve the operational processes of any hospital, we will have to evaluate the current processes to identify weaknesses and strengths, and find opportunities to boost net revenue while reducing expenses. During the assessment, we will also compare hospital performance to similar hospitals in the same area and in other similar markets. For example, we look at productivity and supply costs since we will want to establish whether the costs that the hospital incurs deliver value for money. In this way, we will recommend ways for the facility to avoid or improve financial performance.
Clinical Services. Our operational improvement services also focus on making sure the hospital offers a positive patient experience. We will work with both the management and clinical staff to streamline patient care and services. Often times we are able to work with hospitals to improve patient satisfaction scores and reduce the cost of providing care.
Medical Staff. The importance of the medical staff in any hospital cannot be overstated. During our operational assessment, we will assess hospital-physician relations to identify any issues or concerns. After all concerns are clear, we provide strategies to involve physicians to improve hospital performance, recruit physicians as needed and strengthen physician alignment, which can increase hospital utilization.
Finance. Awareness is the first step to improving financial performance, and that is one of the primary reasons why an operational assessment is so important for hospitals. Therefore, it goes without saying that the path to sustainability will involve looking at finances. The decisions and actions of the finance department have a direct impact on the cash flow of the hospital. During the evaluation, we will carry out an internal audit to establish whether there are any leakages when it comes to revenue collection or expense management.
Capital Issues. With the importance of advanced equipment and recent technology increasing, the capital requirements for running a hospital are significant. Deferred maintenance, delayed equipment upgrades and old technology all impact public perception and patient care. Setting a hospital on the path to sustainability will involve looking at capital requirements and determining how best to fund necessary investments.
Business Development and Strategy. It’s important to focus on growth opportunities as well. We will analyze the market for opportunities to expand services and increase market share. This analysis includes a deep dive into the demographics and dynamics in the hospital’s service area. This will also encompass creating a marketing strategy that will guide the hospital into the future. Other areas of focus include physician referral development, community relations, Website enhancement, social media and other marketing initiatives.