Hospitals are struggling to stay afloat more than ever. The operating margin of the average hospital is 1.7%. This has dropped during the pandemic, which has forced many hospitals to look for new ways to stay competitive.
The most important feature of any hospital is its ability to care for the health of its patients. The best way to ensure a hospital can continue doing this is for it to keep abreast of current trends and best practices in hospital care, and to keep its protocols, equipment and facilities up-to-date. Here are six ways to keep your hospital current and updated.
1. Leverage Record Keeping Databases
Big data is changing healthcare operations. You need to keep current and accurate records of every patient who is treated at your hospital. Traditionally, records have been taken by hand and stored as hard copies, but that is changing. Utilizing an electronic health record database allows healthcare professionals to access a current patient’s records immediately, easily make changes to the record as-needed and store them digitally. You can establish record taking and keeping guidelines and ensure legibility, too.
2. Utilize Green Energy
Green energy is increasingly affordable and cost effective across industries. This is especially important for hospitals, which tend to use much more energy than a typical commercial building. Additionally, improving public health by transitioning to renewable energy should be a big draw for any hospital to begin making the switch. While initial costs may seem high, the long term savings and conservation provided by transferring to green energy can greatly offset that initial investment. Buying solar panels might be a good option for a hospital with a large campus. There could be multiple places to install them on such a campus.
3. Emphasize Public Health Initiatives
One of the best ways to help your hospital stay current socially is to get involved in public health initiatives. Preventative care is increasing in importance as healthcare professionals learn more about what behaviors and exposures can cause or prevent disease. You can partner with a health initiative to help educate the public on ways to stay healthy or what to do if someone develops or contracts a health issue.
4. Develop Interprofessional Teams
In the past, healthcare tended to be conducted in silos. Lately, the emphasis has shifted to interprofessional and interdepartmental teamwork. Including representatives from each profession and each department at your hospital can help you come up with good hospital standards and treatment plans, as well as help healthcare professionals learn about each other’s experience and skills. Additionally, this teamwork focus means your staff will be better at communicating with each other in a crisis, even if a doctor is working with a physician assistant he or she is unfamiliar with. If everyone at your hospital has some experience with interprofessional teams, then your entire hospital staff will be better prepared if there ever is a crisis situation.
5. Focus on Value-based Treatment
Value-based treatment means that healthcare professionals are paid one sum upfront for a patient’s care, by the patient or his or her insurance provider. This treatment basis ensures that the healthcare provider is fully invested in the patient’s full recovery instead of requiring the patient pay for each step of the treatment process. Unlike fee-for-service treatment, any additional care that is required but not specified in the original treatment plan, such as a need for further rehabilitation if the initial program wasn’t enough, is provided at the expense of the hospital rather than the patient.
6. Evaluate Your Hospital’s Facilities and Design
Make sure your equipment, tools and facilities are up-to-date and your disposable supplies are always well-stocked. While equipment like MRI machines can be quite expensive, it’s important to make sure you have a quality machine that works correctly, so it can be an effective imaging tool for doctors to use to diagnose patients.
In hospitals, design is about more than just aesthetics. You need to make sure the design of nurses’ stations, bathrooms and patient rooms allow patients to move free if they need to and allow healthcare professionals to have easy access to tools and patients. Make sure your hospital is well-lit and incorporates design features to reduce the spread of pathogens, such as regularly placed handwashing stations and a good air filtration system.
Ultimately, no two hospitals are alike. An individual hospital’s management must evaluate the hospital’s protocols, equipment and design. Then management can make decisions on which areas to focus on updating and draw up plans to match current trends and keep up as trends change over time.