4 Strategies To Maintain Quality When You Need To Keep Costs Down
Running a hospital, imaging center or other type of healthcare facility requires regular investment in new medical technology, equipment, and staff, to maintain a high quality of care. Unfortunately, your budget may not always allow for that, especially if you experience a budget cut. Budget cuts can have a huge negative impact on the quality of care you provide if you aren’t able to effectively manage those cuts. This is especially true if you deal with the budget cuts by letting staff members go and requiring those who remain to do twice the work.Fortunately, this isn’t the only option. Here are four ways to keep costs down while continuing to provide high-quality care to your patients despite cuts to your budget:
1. Treat Your Equipment Well
Budget cuts might tempt you to forego regularly scheduled preventative maintenance services for some of your more high-end equipment, such as your MRI or CT systems. However, this is a shortsighted solution. Taking care of your equipment is even more important when your budget gets cut because you may not be able to afford repairs or invest in replacements should anything happen to your equipment.
Having to pay for costly repairs, or worse yet, for a replacement, could destroy your budget in other areas. Medical equipment is extremely expensive. The need for repairs or replacement would also result in increased downtime, during which you wouldn’t be able to use your equipment, resulting in lost revenue. You may even be forced to send patients to other facilities while your equipment is being repaired or replaced.
Besides making sure that your equipment continues to be regularly maintained to help prevent potentially major and costly problems from developing, you need to make sure any staff members who handle your equipment are properly trained to use it.
2. Redesign Workflow
Your staff may be spending too much time on administrative tasks. Streamline the bulk of administrative tasks by redesigning your workflow. For example, how many hours do your front desk staff dedicate to calling up patients reminding them about appointments or overdue payments? Such tasks can be automated so they can focus on more pressing tasks. In fact, redesigning your workflow to make your facility run more efficiently may allow you to cut back on staff or staff hours without sacrificing your quality of care.
3. Change Your Marketing Strategy
Although the main purpose of a healthcare provider is to help people, it’s still a business. Like any business, marketing is an absolute must to boost awareness of your facility and to attract more patients. Because a business can succeed or fail based on the success of marketing efforts, many healthcare providers spend a good amount of their budget on their marketing strategy. However, your marketing strategy as it is now may not be as cost-effective as it could be.
Traditional methods of advertising, such as running TV commercials and radio ads or putting up billboards, can be very expensive. You may want to begin allocating more of your marketing budget to online marketing. In fact, online marketing, or inbound marketing as it’s known, is not only much more affordable, it’s proven to be a more effective long-term strategy.
Inbound marketing positions your facility to be discoverable by potential patients (or families of patients) instead of forcing your ads on them when they didn’t ask for them (which is essentially what traditional advertising is). This is done by setting up a website, writing content for a blog, and engaging with your audience on social media. You provide information about your facility, services, and healthcare in general that your target audience can discover themselves. Once they’ve educated themselves using your content, they’ll be more likely to consider your services.
An inbound marketing strategy can help build trust with customers and can help establish your facilities reputation online. It’s also been proven to provide a much higher ROI than traditional marketing efforts when properly implemented.
4. Purchase Refurbished Equipment
Even if you’re taking great care of your medical equipment, you may end up needing to replace a unit. In some cases, you may just have outdated equipment that needs to be upgraded to maintain the high quality of care that your patients expect. In other cases, you may just need additional equipment because you’ve taken on more patients.
If this is the case, you don’t necessarily need to invest a significant amount of your budget into purchasing brand new equipment and having it installed. There’s a good chance you will be able to find refurbished equipment on the market. Look for a quality Independent Service Provider that can offer you certified refurbished equipment. Be sure to ask about a their refurbishment process, certification, and a warranty.
In The End, It’s All About The Patient
The ultimate goal of a healthcare organization is to provide your patients with the best care possible. However, healthcare providers are just like any other organization, which means handling various administrative and financial issues. Budget cuts are not uncommon, and if this happens, look for creative ways to cut back without sacrificing the quality of care provided to your patients. These four suggestions can help you reach that goal.