It is no secret that the pandemic placed a lot of stress on the healthcare system. However, every challenge is an opportunity to create a solution. Although no easy answers exist, if you’re a healthcare leader, you can begin implementing strategies today to improve the quality of care. For example, you can implement business strategies in the healthcare industry with methods ranging from business partnerships to developing new products that lower costs and improve the quality of care.
The first step is understanding how you operate in your industry and what other healthcare providers do well. You can also create a culture of learning and encourage your team to learn about concepts such as Six Sigma. Because business strategies are vital to every industry, including healthcare, schools like Spring Arbor University have online programs to educate business and healthcare leaders.
When you understand what makes different organizations successful, developing solutions and strategies to improve your industry becomes easier. Here is a look at how you can start implementing business procedures today for improving healthcare.
Develop an understanding of healthcare priorities
When we think of healthcare, we think of a system with millions of variables. The system is complex but also extremely important. For one, it’s an essential part of what makes our communities function, and leaders need to run it effectively. The first step in improving healthcare is understanding what has worked well in your community and where improvements can be made.
Once you understand your current system, you can start brainstorming strategies to improve it with your leaders. Begin by collecting data about the current approach to understand the priorities of your healthcare system. Next, look at data about the ease of getting care, quality of care, and cost of care. This information helps you understand where improvements can be made in your healthcare organization. If you see obvious areas where your system can improve based on these metrics, that’s an excellent place to start.
Partner with organizations to strengthen systems
Many healthcare systems operate independently, with each entity operating separately. This reality creates inefficiencies you can reduce by finding opportunities for healthcare partnerships. Partnering with other healthcare systems creates efficiencies through sharing resources and creating economies of scale. For example, healthcare entities can partner to reduce the cost of purchasing products and services, such as a medical group partnering with a pharmacy to offer members a lower-cost option.
Partnerships can also strengthen systems by sharing best practices and improving systems. For example, you can share insights about leading-edge patient care, quality of care, or access to care. Partnering with other healthcare systems can improve your community’s quality and accessibility of care. It can also help you cut costs by reducing the resources you need to operate. As a result, partnering with others can help you increase capacity and offerings by expanding services to meet the needs of patients.
Refine processes and redefine roles
The healthcare system is complex and constantly changing. By refining processes and redefining roles, healthcare entities can better help navigate these changes. Businesses continually do this, and so should healthcare organizations. Refining processes means finding new ways to perform tasks you already carry out. For example, you could revise your policies on how patients are seen to include video conferencing, or you could see how medical professionals perform procedures to reduce errors. Redefining processes and roles can help healthcare entities reduce staff workloads.
As healthcare systems evolve and grow, it is essential for leaders to look for ways to reduce staff workloads through efficiency. The best way to do this is by redefining roles and refining processes. For example, you could look into standardized documentation. If all documentation, such as a patient note or discharge orders, are the same, it avoids duplication of efforts. Standardize your documentation so everyone has a set of instructions showing them precisely what you expect. This standardization reduces the time staff spend on paperwork work that doesn’t require their expertise.
Offer new products or services
New products, services, and equipment are ways to reduce costs and improve the quality of care. New technologies are also an excellent way to enhance accessibility and quality of care. Healthcare entities can partner with other organizations and businesses to test new technologies and products to improve the quality and accessibility of care. As mentioned earlier, partnerships are a great business strategy.
Furthermore, it’s a great way for healthcare entities to identify unmet needs in the community. For example, what if a hospital was working with a local nonprofit to offer home-based services to patients? These patients might have challenges getting to appointments and could benefit from home care. What if they partnered with innovative companies offering better ways to see patients and their families who might be far away from them but also need to participate?
Create a culture of collaboration and innovation
Healthcare entities can create a culture of collaboration and innovation that allows for new thinking, ideas, and ways of operating. Companies do it every day, and so should healthcare organizations. Healthcare entities can create a culture of collaboration through employee wellness programs and an open culture that welcomes ideas from everyone.
It can also help your healthcare organization engage with stakeholders in your community to identify unmet needs that are vital for patients. A culture of collaboration can help improve your healthcare system by increasing access and visibility of data. For example, a culture of cooperation improves the flow of data access through your healthcare system. As a result, you will break down silos and eliminate the friction that impacts the quality of patient care.
Allow smart failures and learn
Healthcare entities can allow for smart failures. This is when you’re not afraid to try new strategies and methods that may not work. Healthcare entities can also accept failure as part of the learning process. For your healthcare team to innovate, it has to test out new technology, approaches, and methods, so your healthcare organization should promote strategic disruption and innovation.
In reality, the only way to learn anything is by experimenting. Unfortunately, the pandemic demonstrated that many healthcare systems weren’t up to the challenge. Furthermore, experts say we are now living in an age of pandemics. How is your healthcare system preparing for the next pandemic when it inevitably comes your way? How are you promoting learning and failure as part of the process?
Take part in health IT stakeholder groups
Another business strategy is taking part in health IT stakeholder groups. These groups focus on identifying unmet needs and developing strategies to address them. The aim is to find technological solutions to meet the needs of staff and patients.
Furthermore, health IT stakeholder groups allow discussions with other stakeholders interested in improving healthcare. Local governments can be part of the group, or it could consist of other healthcare organizations and businesses looking to improve healthcare outcomes. These groups can help you bring technology to your organization in a smarter way.
Keep an eye out for disruptive technology
Technology now plays a major role in improving healthcare systems. Healthcare entities can stay on top of emerging technologies that could disrupt their operations. They should also look for ways to integrate new technologies with existing ones to create a holistic approach to improving health.
Organizations can use technology for several purposes. For example, you can improve patient records management and quality of care or use new surgical and medical approaches. Of course, you can also use technology to support the implementation of strategies, such as allowing for research and development.
Improving healthcare organizations
Businesses continually seek to improve their processes and approaches, and there’s no reason healthcare can’t do the same thing. By applying business strategies to the healthcare system, you can improve patient outcomes, which is the ultimate aim. These strategies include partnering with others, offering new products or services, creating a culture of collaboration, allowing for smart failures, and looking out for emerging technologies. In short, effective business strategies are essential for improving healthcare.
Keep in mind that the first step is understanding how your industry operates and what other businesses do well. Once you have this information, you can begin implementing strategies to improve healthcare in your community. Inevitably, you’ll find that applying business strategies will allow you to lower costs and improve healthcare in general, which means you’ll have more motivated medical teams and staff. Perhaps best of all, you’ll also have more grateful patients who realize you’re looking out for them and not having them jump through hurdles for the quality care they deserve.