Author: LBodnarchuk

Operational Efficiency Tips

Tips for Improving Operational Efficiency

In the healthcare industry, operational efficiency is crucial for providing high-quality patient care, reducing costs and improving overall organizational performance. With healthcare costs continuing to rise, organizations must find ways to improve efficiency and reduce waste without compromising patient care.

We will explore some practical tips and strategies for improving operational efficiency in healthcare. By implementing these tips, healthcare organizations can streamline their operations, improve patient outcomes and position themselves for long-term success in a rapidly changing industry.

What Is Operational Efficiency?

Operational efficiency refers to the ability of an organization to produce goods or services with the minimum amount of resources and waste possible. In other words, it is the ratio of output to input in terms of time, money and resources.

Operational efficiency can be achieved by optimizing the processes and systems that are involved in producing a product or service. This includes:

  • Improving the efficiency of workflows
  • Minimizing waste and errors
  • Reducing costs
  • Maximizing productivity

In healthcare, operational efficiency is particularly important, as it can have a significant impact on patient outcomes. By optimizing processes, healthcare providers can improve patient flow, reduce wait times and help patients receive high-quality care in a timely manner. Overall, operational efficiency is a key factor in helping healthcare providers deliver high-quality care in a cost-effective manner.

Overview of Process Optimization in Healthcare

Process optimization is a key aspect of improving operational efficiency in healthcare. It involves identifying opportunities for improvement in the processes and workflows used in delivering patient care and making changes to optimize those processes.

The goal of process optimization is to reduce waste, improve patient outcomes and increase efficiency. By analyzing the way healthcare organizations operate, it is possible to identify areas where processes can be streamlined, standardized or automated through these methods:

  • Using technology: One key aspect of process optimization in healthcare is the use of technology. Electronic health records (EHRs), telemedicine and other digital tools can help automate processes, reduce errors, and improve communication and collaboration among healthcare providers.
  • Optimizing workflows: Another aspect of process optimization is optimizing workflows. This involves identifying the steps involved in a particular process and determining how those steps can be streamlined or eliminated to improve efficiency. For example, by standardizing processes for admitting patients, hospitals can reduce the time it takes to get patients into a room and receiving care.
  • Reducing administrative burdens: Administrative burdens can also be reduced through process optimization. By simplifying administrative tasks, such as billing and insurance claims, healthcare providers can reduce the time and resources needed for these tasks, freeing up more time to focus on patient care.

Why Process Optimization in Healthcare Is Important

Key reasons why process optimization is important in healthcare

Process optimization is essential in healthcare for a variety of reasons. Here are some key reasons why:

  • Improved patient outcomes: Process optimization can lead to improved patient outcomes. By streamlining processes and reducing errors, healthcare providers can help patients receive the best possible care.
  • Increased efficiency: By optimizing processes, healthcare providers can increase efficiency, reducing wait times and improving patient flow. This can lead to better patient experiences and improved outcomes.
  • Cost savings: Process optimization can also result in cost savings for healthcare organizations. By reducing waste and increasing efficiency, healthcare providers can save money on staffing, supplies and other resources.
  • Better resource allocation: Process optimization can help healthcare organizations allocate their resources more effectively. By identifying areas where resources are being underutilized or overutilized, healthcare providers can allocate resources more efficiently.
  • Improved compliance: By optimizing processes, healthcare organizations can work to be in compliance with regulations and standards. This can help to avoid fines and penalties and protect the reputation of the organization.

Process optimization is essential in healthcare to offer patients high-quality care, use resources effectively and maintain efficient and effective operations.

Tips on How to Increase Operational Efficiency

Here are some ways to increase operational efficiency:

  • Standardize processes: Standardizing processes can help reduce variation and improve efficiency. By creating standard workflows, procedures and guidelines, healthcare providers can reduce errors and improve patient outcomes.
  • Use technology: Leveraging technology can help automate processes and reduce administrative burdens. EHRs, telemedicine and other digital tools can help healthcare providers communicate and collaborate more effectively, leading to increased efficiency.
  • Optimize workflows: Analyzing and optimizing workflows can show areas where processes can be streamlined, automated or eliminated. These changes can help reduce wait times, improve patient flow and increase efficiency.
  • Improve communication and collaboration: Effective communication and collaboration among healthcare providers can help to reduce errors, improve patient outcomes and increase efficiency. By using digital tools and other communication methods, healthcare providers can work more efficiently and effectively.
  • Continuously monitor and improve: Continuously monitoring and analyzing operational processes can help identify areas where further improvements can be made. By regularly evaluating and optimizing processes, healthcare providers can operate at peak efficiency.

Strategies for Healthcare Process Improvement

There are several strategies healthcare organizations can employ to improve their processes and drive better care at lower costs:

  • Implement evidence-based practices: Evidence-based practices are medical interventions that have been proven to be effective through rigorous scientific research. By implementing these practices, healthcare organizations can improve patient outcomes while reducing costs by avoiding unnecessary tests, procedures and treatments.
  • Focus on prevention: Preventive care can help address health issues early before they become more serious and require more expensive treatments. Healthcare organizations can encourage patients to adopt healthy lifestyles and provide preventive services, such as screenings and vaccinations.
  • Reduce waste and inefficiency: Healthcare organizations can reduce waste and inefficiency by improving processes such as inventory management, reducing wait times and eliminating unnecessary tests or procedures.
  • Collaborate with other providers: Collaborating with other healthcare providers, such as hospitals and primary care providers, can improve care coordination and reduce duplication of services, which can lead to lower costs.
  • Engage patients: Engaging patients in their own care can improve outcomes and reduce costs. Healthcare organizations can provide education and resources to help patients manage their conditions and make informed decisions about their care.

How ProspHire Can Help

ProspHire is a healthcare management consulting firm that specializes in helping healthcare organizations optimize their operations and improve performance. Here are some ways we can help improve operational efficiency in healthcare:

  • Process optimization: We can help healthcare organizations identify opportunities for process optimization and implement changes to streamline workflows, reduce waste and increase efficiency.
  • Technology optimization: We can help healthcare organizations optimize their technology infrastructure, including EHRs, telemedicine and other digital tools, to improve communication, automate processes and reduce administrative burdens.
  • Performance improvement: We can help healthcare organizations improve their performance by setting performance goals, tracking progress and making changes to improve performance over time.
  • Change management: We can help healthcare organizations manage change effectively by communicating changes to staff, training staff on new processes and technologies and supporting staff through the change process.
  • Interim management: We can provide interim management services to help healthcare organizations maintain continuity of operations during times of transition or change.
Leverage ProspHire's expertise to optimize your operations

By leveraging our expertise, your healthcare organization can optimize your operations, reduce waste and improve patient outcomes. Connect with us today to learn more about how we can help.

Soaring to New Health

Soaring to New Health Blog- Episode 2, Ask the Next Generation Pharmacist

Welcome to Season 1, Episode 2 of the Soaring to New Health Podcast.

This episode is Ask the Next Generation Pharmacist. We talk with ProspHire’s Mark Thomas, an experienced pharmacist and consultant in the healthcare industry and Chris Antypas, a seasoned pharmacist, executive owner and innovator, about the pharmacist’s rapidly change role, the new ways to deliver patient care and the evolvement of medication management.  

Today, pharmacy is at the forefront of many conversations. Drug costs are rising at an unprecedented rate. Employers and employer sponsored plans are trying to navigate and tackle pharmacy costs; and health plans are trying to zero in on how to contain costs while also ensuring access to innovative therapies.

On the innovation side, drug manufacturers continue to bring novel and rare disease therapies to the market. This, while the payer side is addressing rising drug costs and trying to navigate how to continue to afford to pay for medications and ensure access. Plus, billionaire business owner Mark Cuban is on a mission to “disrupt” the pharmaceutical Industry and sell low-cost prescription drugs directly to Americans.

Antypas says, “We spend a lot of time talking about healthcare costs and unfortunately what I’m seeing is there’s really not been enough attention put on the role that medications play in managing total cost of care”. His personal journey in trying to disrupt healthcare and improve healthcare is focused on the relationship with his patients – knowing who they are, understanding their personal situation and providing them with meaningful solutions to access or afford a medication. You’ll find that relationship-based care blended with a custom pharmacy experience at Antypas’s Asti Pharmacy in Pittsburgh’s South Hills area. Adherence packaging is an example of this care model, where the patient receives a customized blister pack containing all their daily medications.

In the digital heath and technology space, Antypas’s Perigon Pharmacy, umbrellaed under Perigon Health 360, a 50-state licensed, dual accredited specialty pharmacy that is creating tools for patients to help them take their medications more accurately and effectively. One such device sits on a countertop in the patients’ home and intelligently dispenses medication. This intersection of healthcare and innovation optimizes the care team’s ability to track and monitor whether the patient appears to have missed a dosage and then sends reminder notifications via text message or phone call. It’s at that point the pharmacist can connect with the patient to determine the cause and a solution.

The opportunity for health plans is to view pharmacy as a strategy to address any healthcare gaps and help manage member health. Thomas talks about the opportunity for the next generation pharmacist to think differently and outside of the box when it comes to drug delivery models. Antypas says those new ideas and pathways to success are built from being brave and having the courage to advocate and make a difference in a patient’s life.   To hear more about today’s pharmacy trends and what some pharmacists are doing to push the boundaries of the traditional pharmacy practice, download Soaring to New Health’s episode two, Ask the Next Generation Pharmacist here.

Soaring to New Health Blog-Episode 1, Don’t Be a Pain in the ACA

Welcome to Season 1, Episode 1 of the Soaring to New Health Podcast.

This episode is Don’t be a Pain in the ACA. ProspHire’s Affordable Care Act (ACA) experts, Caitlin Nicklow and Matt Dauffenbach, talk about what it is, why it’s important, the timeline for launching a plan, how to get started and the impact on health plans.

When we’re talking about ACA, we’re normally talking about the individual exchange. This is an insurance marketplace for those who don’t have employer sponsored health care and don’t qualify for Medicaid or Medicare.  To obtain coverage, individuals log on to their state or federal exchange and you shop for health care. It’s as simple as that.

The ACA has benefitted both members and Health Plans. The biggest advantage for members is the essential health benefits that each plan must include. It’s a safeguard for members. When you shop for a plan, you know that each one has, at minimum, the same core benefits, including preventative care and emergency services. Health Plans benefit from launching ACA plans because it’s an opportunity to stay with a member through all the phases of their life. When health plans launch an ACA plan, it keeps that revenue stream within the organization. Those health plans also immediately benefited from the Medicaid Redetermination because those members could move from Medicaid to their ACA plan. If your health plan doesn’t have an ACA plan, there is still an opportunity to launch one because the Medicaid Regermination process is going to take a year to unwind. Open Enrollment for Plan Year 2024 will be key for members who shop around for plans and want to make a switch.

Health plans shouldn’t underestimate the time it takes to set up an ACA Plan. The timeline varies and it depends on whether you are a brand-new plan or a mature plan that has already obtained NCQA or URAC accreditation. That could mean the difference between 12 months and 18 to 24 months. At ProspHire, we tell our clients not to rush… plan out those processes, make sure you have the infrastructure to support the potential number of member growth.

Demographics and competition are important. You could have a plan that launches with 5,000 members and quickly grows to 50,000. Realistic short term and long-term goals are all a part of planning conversations. It’s important to understand what your strengths as a plan are, how strong your brand is and what differentiators will attract members.

Staying on top of ACA compliance and regulations can be a full-time job. At the foundation, the biggest requirement is Qualified Health Plan (QHP) certification. Any plan in the marketplace in any U.S. state must have this certification and you must renew it annually. The process looks at the bones of the operation of the plan, starting in May and wrapping up in September. In addition, every state will have their own specific requirements to operate in that state. Third is a must have – accreditation. That looks at the inside of the plan, the policies and procedures. Beware that NCQA or URAC is very time intensive and involves more than 100 requirements for the plan to be in compliance.

Prioritization is key when launching an ACA plan. During the assessment phase, we talk with you about competing projects and resources. We look for ways to align your priorities and leverage existing projects and resources in your organization to avoid duplication of efforts across multiple programs.

For more details on the challenges and solutions once the plan is established and enrollment period begins, download Soaring to New Health’s episode one, Don’t be a Pain in the ACA here.