Business & Leadership Behaviors Technical & Industry Thoughts

A Glimpse of the Business Side of Healthcare

Healthcare is a part of everyone’s lives. But when you set aside our personal perspectives and experiences, it is still an “entity” that requires the same skills and management as any other institution, organization or business that delivers a service.

One thing that we’ve learned from the all of the healthcare “decisions and discussions” our politicians have had over the past 8+ years, we have learned that the healthcare industry represents a fifth of our national economy – which means trillions of dollars. Naturally, anything of this magnitude could very easily develop some fiscal inefficiencies on a variety of levels.

Salaries and benefits may be the single largest cost line in hospitals, but fixed assets are its greatest investment of capital. All of those gurneys, wheelchairs, computers, scales, desks, etc., add up to a very large sum. Now consider that investment resides in an environment that has significant number of assets to manage – and many of those assets are mobile.

Picture the last time you were in a hospital room or an exam room or even a waiting room. Think about all of the items in that room – and how many have wheels. It’s not hard to see that tracking all of these would be a daunting task.

Now think about the impact on care or the efficiency of care if one of these items go missing or is just moved and can’t be accessed quickly. Tracking these assets goes from being more than just a reporting requirement for Accounting. Depending on the item, keeping track of these assets could truly have life and death consequences.

Like all businesses, the challenge in healthcare is to find that critical balance of providing the highest quality of service at the lowest cost. However, in healthcare, they’ve just got a more daunting mix of challenges (and consequences) in find that balance than most industries.

But let’s get back to the business perspective. A primary goal for all CEO’s and CFO’s in these hospital environments is “Higher Quality at a Lower Cost”. Their challenges come from:

  • Cutting costs while boosting outcomes
  • Leveraging technology & automation where ever feasible over manual processes
  • Sheer volume and ever-changing compliance requirements
  • Government reimbursements & funding cuts
  • Increasing staff & operation costs
  • Capital recovery from unnecessary insurance, taxes & unneeded asset sales
  • Inaccurate data that weakens operational view and influences decisions

One approach that can dramatically impact asset investment is an easy, timely and accurate manner on harvesting the data that you need. Most problem solving starts with getting down to the raw facts, right?

Successfully getting to those facts requires making it easy so that the process is fast and accurate. Introducing automation into what is often a manual process is, in my opinion, the best way to get there.

The right software combined with a handheld computer can provide a mobile capability that allows for the streamlined approach that your hospital needs to ensure capture of all of your asset data. This approach provides a non-intrusive and simplified process that makes the audits easy and more routine for your staff. Plus automation assists in providing accurate and trustworthy data – and consequently improved information for better strategic decisions.

There are many financial challenges facing our healthcare community today – and there will be more in the future.  One that can be addressed now and with a significant return on investment, is automating how you’re managing your fixed assets. For a very low investment ( ˂ 1¢ per $100 value of assets) with a rapid payback, this is option can have a near immediate effect on your bottom line.

Interested in knowing the specific impact to your bottom line?  Let’s talk.