Operational Efficiencies in Hospitals – Health System Example

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"Operational Efficiencies in Hospitals" is a wonderful example of a paper on the health system. More Patients, Less Payment: Increasing Hospital Efficiency in  the Aftermath of Health Reform  The efficiency problem highlighted in exhibit 1 relates to  the underutilization  of hospital capacities. Hospitals in the United States have a  very low rating when compared  to  countries that have a similar development  index.   Eugene and Bisognano  state,   "The average bed occupancy rate for American hospitals is 65.67 percent- the lowest among all industrialized countries"  (78). The consequences of this situation include increased likelihood of medical errors, unnecessary delays in treatment, and waste of resources in the hospitals.   The most likely reason for the low rating in the U. S.

is that most hospitals tend to encourage service delivery models that revolve  around individual doctors. For instance, a  particular surgeon  may have a strong reputation. Patients, therefore, seek the  particular surgeon  to attend to them. Inadvertently, all patients interested in the surgeon tend to get admission around the time when the surgeon is  available to serve them,   leading to backlogs.     Technical assistance refers to services that will help hospitals to determine their occupancy rates and their potential for improvement. These services include the management of operations and data analysis.   The  services are vital to the improvement of the efficiency problem in  American  hospitals  for the following reasons.   They will provide the hospitals with a clear picture of the degree of inefficiency in their operations by the use of statistical tools.

This will increase  the awareness of the potential benefits that improving efficiency will bring to the  Hospital. Secondly, technical assistance will lead to the development of clear targets and a means of measuring progress. On the issue of operations management, the provision of technical services will provide the hospitals with viable options to choose from to improve their operational efficiency.     Leveraging Healthcare IT to Improve Operational Performance  One of the examples of process automation through IT at Chester County Hospital is the implementation of Infection Control Workflows.   In particular, the Hospital wanted to control the spread of Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) within the Hospital.

Initially, up to twenty-five percent of patients who had MRSA went undetected in the admission  process.   This made it very easy for them to spread MRSA to other patients. The Hospital implemented an IT-based  workflow  process that ensured the  early detection of MRSA. After initial detection by the nurses, a system-wide notification process became active.

All personnel handling the MRSA positive patient received alerts whenever they were about to interact with the patient triggering MRSA control procedures. Between 2005 and 2009, the infection rate of hospital-acquired infections,   including MRSA, fell from 0.58 to 0.18  because  of the implementation of the  MRSA workflow  (John and Hess 85).   The authors' statement is entirely  true,   but it is exaggerated. IT already plays a very important role in the healthcare industry  by facilitating  data storage and retrieval  (EaseMD).   IT has made it very easy for doctors to store and retrieve patients' information.

Also,   health facilities use IT to prepare accounts and to keep track of medical supplies and stock levels. In short, IT has already made possible improvements in healthcare business processes  (DOH). It is not only useful in process optimization, as the authors assert. However, IT can provide a clear  benefit to healthcare services in the area of process optimization. The examples provided by the authors demonstrate the possibilities.    

References

OH. Electronic Health Records: Overview. 2011. 24 October 2011 .

EaseMD. easeMD Systems: Improving Physician Workflow. 2011. 24 October 2011 .

Eugene, Litvak and Maureen Bisognano. "More Patients, Less Payment: Increasing Hospital Efficiency in the Aftermath of Health Reform." Health Affairs (2011): 76-79.

John, Glaser and Ray Hess. "Leveraging Healthcare IT to Improve Operational Performance." Healthcare Financial Management (2011): 82-85.

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