- COVID-19 has challenged healthcare organizations’ bottom lines
- There are four key ways to increase profitability for healthcare organizations
- Communication impacts clinician burnout, which is an often forgotten opportunity to increase profitability
As COVID-19 cases continue to decline and vaccination increases, leaders are thinking strategically about their bottom lines – specifically, how to increase profitability for healthcare organizations to remedy financial losses during the pandemic.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging for healthcare organizations. They had to quickly adapt and innovate in respect to care delivery and communication. But, to increase the safety of their staff and patient populations, they also had to cancel elective procedures while combatting public anxiety and apprehension about receiving care unless absolutely necessary.
These factors have led to enormous financial challenges, and have led healthcare leaders to consider all options to improve their financial standing. In fact, hospitals are said to have lost 22.3 billion in revenue due to halted elective surgeries alone.
So while a return to normal revenue levels is anticipated, in the meantime, what opportunities exist to increase profitability for healthcare organizations?
Top Tips to Increase Profitability for Healthcare Organizations
To increase profitability for healthcare organizations, I recommend these areas of focus:
- Fostering long-term patient relationships to increase patient loyalty and referrals
- Focusing on physician quality, as it directly impacts margins and satisfaction scores
- Consolidating technology wherever possible
- Reducing clinician burnout
While the first three may be evident, reducing clinician burnout is a hidden expense that drags down profitability. In fact, a Harvard Business School report estimates the cost is more than $4.6B across the healthcare industry.
Managing clinician burnout and wellbeing has been a priority of most healthcare organizations but is a large concern as clinicians have been under tremendous stress during the COVID-19. Halo Health is a clinician-led organization, and so reducing clinician burnout is priority of our company and its product strategy as well.
Clinician burnout not only impacts profitability and the financial success of the organization, it impacts clinician wellbeing, which can have severe consequences. Burnout leads to errors and safety events that put patients’ lives at risk.
The Role of Clinical Communication in Reducing Burnout
Clinician burnout is a serious issue for healthcare organizations, with ramifications that can impact the entire organization – including decreased profitability.
Burnout is a response to an adverse working environment, and, for healthcare organizations, a working environment founded in siloed, outdated, and fragmented communication is a tremendous driver of burnout.
Healthcare leaders can combat this by consolidating technology and implementing solutions that unify clinical communication.
For example, clinicians commonly use several different communication modalities – EHR, pagers, phones, on-call scheduling directories and more. Having to juggle multiple, poorly integrated systems adds to the clerical burden and workload frustrations, and it also significantly bloats IT budgets.
To reduce burnout and IT expenses, utilize a platform designed to unify clinical communication. For example, with a clinical collaboration platform, healthcare organizations can unify communications from the EHR (such as radiology and lab reports), patient monitoring devices and nurse call systems so clinicians are monitoring and responding to fewer devices.
Additionally, they accelerate time-sensitive clinical communication and workflows so that patient care is not delayed, and burnout is reduced by making it simple to collaborate with colleagues.
As Ali Morin, MSN, RN–BC, Vice President of Nursing Informatics recently explained, “Any delay in that communication put patients at risk, and that is unacceptable. Tools that are helping to bridge this communication gap are a tremendous help to nurses, physicians, and the patient populations we serve.”
Reducing burnout and recovering lost revenue begins with improving clinical communication.