It’s January, still a great time to get your budget approved! Even though what many hospitals are experiencing are the issues with efficiency and patient flow, it can be really hard to get any budget approved for these deeply intangible but fundamental issues. Moreover, it’s not only managers who are concerned by this. It’s literally everybody in a hospital including patients who suffers if there are issues related to long waiting times, not enough beds, long length of stay etc.
The budget is stretched so what are the 3 simple rules to follow to get your budget approved for patient flow related issues?
Know the real numbers first!
While it can be easy to say that there’s a problem and it needs to be solved… how big is the problem? Patients may be waiting too long in the Emergency department but what are the actual waiting times at the moment? Waiting for laboratory tests takes ages? What are the actual Laboratory Turnaround Times? And here we could go on and on… What are the average times since patients were last seen? There is not enough equipment in your ward? What is the utilization of this equipment?
When there’s a problem or low efficiency in patient flow, everybody in a hospital will notice and they will keep complaining. But to take action, what are the KPIs, the real data, the hard numbers? Trying to improve a problem which is vaguely specified will not only bring zero results but will make it nearly impossible to explain this to the CFO or board.
If you are wondering how to access all KPIs and analytics, which are invaluable for decision making, you might want to read our blog post Managing a Hospital Today is Like Piloting a Boeing 747 with All the Gauges.
Set up patient flow goals in real numbers
So how to get the estimation of patient flow related goals? You can benchmark even between wards in a hospital. You might find a ward which has great results in the area you need to improve. Use the hospital analytical dashboards to find out why this result was so good. Alternatively, you might find out that by improving one KPI slightly let’s say laboratory turnaround time, the issue got improved significantly. There might be more nurses each Tuesday and this is why waiting times are lower. Have you to many staff in a certain area and not enough in another area, you may need to bring some staff from one department to the ED for a few hours How do you presently see this information in real time? Try projecting these real numbers into your goals. You can even test any situation for a while to see what really brings results. Thanks to real-time hospital analytics and KPIs it’s so simple to test and assess different scenarios related to improving patient flow.
Quantify savings in $ = what is the ROI?
And now we are talking money! Increasing patient flow inevitably brings efficiency. How much efficiency? The idea is, instead of just asking for money in the budget to be actually saving money. Instead of requesting more equipment, what about allocating budget to increase equipment utilisation and save the need for equipment and costs over the long haul? Reducing purchasing, leasing, maintenance. Do you see where we are coming from? Alternatively, you are able to quantify how safety or patient satisfaction KPIs got improved.
So let’s keep in mind, CFOs think in numbers and even better in money… Quantify the problem, explain them how much you will save and they will be more than happy to enable you to solve the burning problems in your hospital. Spending budget on something that actually saves resources is the best way to go in healthcare while technology enables us to do that!
What’s your experience? Let’s open the discussion!
While this post was focused on being exact with budgeting, we will cover more on how to focus on improving hospital processes so feel free to subscribe.
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