Cutting Hospital Costs Without Affecting Patient Care
Written by Tristan Anwyn
Cutting costs is serious business in hospitals these days.
With the government calling for a $155 billion reduction in Medicare payments to hospitals in the next 10 years, medical establishments need to take a good look at their budgets.
Some hospitals will certainly need to reduce their staff in order to save on costs, but what else can hospitals nationwide do to cut their costs without compromising on patient care?
With the total cost of re-admissions running as high as $45 billion, finding ways to reduce re-admissions could lead to significant savings.
There are several things hospitals can do to reduce re-admissions >>>
- Patient Education: Good patient education upon discharge can reduce readmissions by ensuring patients follow good self care routines and make good choices to support their recovery;
- Multi-Agency Working: Liaising with a patient's local doctor and pharmacist means more collaborative care, better communication, and less chance of unnoticed drug reactions or other problems;
- Home Care: Follow up care at the patient's home is a cost-effective way to lower the risk of readmission.
It's all too easy for hospitals to fall into the mindset that more must surely equal better.
But more space and more staff is not necessarily the answer. Instead hospitals could consider auditing their existing practices.
This would highlight problems such as >>>
- Improper record keeping;
- Outdated and slow systems;
- Inefficient use of space;
- Practices that waste time;
- Unnecessary repetitions in paperwork;
- Problems related to lack of training.
Healthcare providers can address these issues in order to run departments more effectively. This saves on expensive expansion costs, and also cuts costs by increasing efficiency.
Stop Unnecessary Testing
Tests such as CT scans are costly procedures, and with reduced reimbursements on the horizon, it is in every hospital's best interests to reduce testing wherever possible.
Hospitals would be wise to audit when tests are ordered and why, to see if any cuts can be made.
Whether you are talking about administrative errors holding up the billing process or a medication error leading to a re-admission, errors are costly.
Hospitals can look to reduce errors through >>>
- Better auditing;
- More thorough record keeping;
- Increasing cross checking of information;
- Ensuring staff are well trained.
Consider Accountable Care
Accountable Care is a government program in which hospitals share responsibility for the health of elderly and disabled patients with the government. If hospital costs rise above a certain level, they may be called upon to reimburse the government.
However, if there are reduced admissions and therefore savings, hospitals share in those savings.
Accountable care may include >>>
- Better patient education;
- Calls or visits to ensure patients are taking their medication correctly;
- Support with attending regular appointments.
There is some evidence that providing support outside the hospital can reduce admissions rates and cut costs, so Accountable Care is worth investigating for hospitals looking to reduce their costs.
While there's no doubt that the need for hospitals to cut costs is greater than ever, there are many steps hospitals can start taking right now to reduce their spending without compromising on patient care.
About The Author
Tristan Anwyn is an author who writes on subjects as diverse as health, positive thinking, best accounting software, and business.
Bachem turns 50 - a timeline
Bachem, a supplier to pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies worldwide, is celebrating its 50th anniversary this month. We take a look at the Swiss company's history.
1971 - beginnings
Bachem is founded by entrepreneur Peter Grogg in Liestal, a small town near Basel in Switzerland. Grogg started the firm with just two employees, and with a focus on peptide synthesis - peptides are composed of amino acids that have a variety of functions treating health conditions such as cancer and diabetes.
1977 - 1981 - early growth
Bachem moves its headquarters to the Swiss town of Bubendorf, with eight employees. In 1978 the company produces peptides for use in medicines for the first time. In 1981 production capacity triples and the workforce grows to 150.
1987 - 1996 - worldwide expansion
The company expands into the US with Bachem Bioscience, Inc. in Philadelphia. To strengthen its presence in Europe, Bachem opens sales and marketing centres in Germany in 1988.
Further sales centres open in France in 1993. By 1995 the company employs 190 people. In 1996 it acquires the second largest manufacturer of peptides in the world and forms Bachem California with a site in Torrance.
1998 - 2003 - Bachem goes public
Bachem company goes public and lists shares on the Swiss Stock Exchange. Further acquisitions include Peninsula Laboratories, Inc, based in California, and Sochinaz SA, a Swiss-based manufacturer of active pharmaceutical ingredients. By 2001, the company has 500 employees and sales reach 141 million CHF.
In 2003 the organisation is given a new legal holding structure to support its continued growth, which remains in place to this day.
2007 - 2013 - acquisitions
Bachem acquires a brand by Merck Biosciences for ready-to-use clinical trial materials and related services.
In 2013, together with GlyTech, Inc. Bachem announces the development of a new amino acid that can help to treat multiple sclerosis, with a world market of more than $4 billion.
In 2015 it acquires the American Peptide Company (APC), which becomes integrated into Bachem Americas.
2016 - 2019 - a global leader
In 2016 the group opens a new building dedicated to R&D projects and small series production in Bubendorf. With a total of 1,022 employees, the workforce exceeds the 1,000 mark for the first time in the company’s history. Sales are over the 200 million mark for the first time at 236.5 million CHF.
Bachem expands into Asia with the establishment of a new company in Tokyo called Bachem Japan K.K.
By 2019 Bachem has a growing oligonucleotide portfolio - these are DNA molecules used in genetic testing, research, and forensics. It is hoped this will become a significant product range in the future.
2020 - COVID-19
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Bachem secures its supply of active ingredients, and even increases it in critical areas. Sales exceed the 400 million Swiss franc mark for the first time, and 272 new employees are hired.
2021 - a milestone anniversary
Bachem celebrates its 50th anniversary and position as a global leader in the manufacture of peptides. While it remains headquartered in Bubendorf, the company employs 1,500 people at six locations worldwide. In the next five years there are plans to continue expanding.
Commemorating the company's anniversary, Kuno Sommer, Chairman of the Board of Directors, said: "Bachem's exceptional success story from a small laboratory to a global market leader is closely linked to Peter Grogg's values, and has been shaped by innovation, consistent quality and cost awareness, as well as by entrepreneurial vision."