For several years, high costs and structural inefficiencies have plagued the healthcare industry. Medical debt is growing in the United States, as many Americans face financial instability. According to Health System Tracker, the average hospital stay can cost the average American approximately $5,220 per day. Hence, patients sometimes ignore or prolong health issues until they become unbearable.
Several issues within healthcare coverage pose a formidable challenge to healthcare service delivery. As the average median age increases, more people will require help. But, understaffing has made the situation dire. According to the AAMC, the United States is likely to experience a shortage of 139,000 physicians within the next ten years.
Furthermore, health inequities are growing. This phenomenon has a spillover effect on the rest of society. Disadvantaged populations and people of color are becoming more vulnerable because of a lack of proper access to healthcare facilities.
The pandemic shifted the focus on these deep-rooted issues within healthcare and turned a crisis into a national tragedy. Front-line workers suffered because of mismanagement and a vacuum of leadership. Thousands of medical professionals lost their lives because of PPE shortages. Patients suffered as hospitals scrambled to source ventilators and medication. And as Covid-19 unequally affected racial and ethnic minority groups, racial injustice took center stage.
While the situation seems bleak, there is still hope. Healthcare managers play a central role in ensuring that healthcare institutions run smoothly. Through timely preparation and comprehensive planning, they can avoid common pitfalls and improve the management of healthcare facilities. Managers can also enroll in programs, such as online mph degrees, to prepare them for public health emergencies. With that said, this article will discuss ten tips to improve management in healthcare.
- Set goals: Trying to improve management is difficult when the staff does not have clear goals in sight. Concrete and measurable goals can identify weaknesses and make overwhelming projects easy to handle. Managers should keep in mind the six pillars of quality healthcare during goal setting. These include ensuring safety, effectiveness, patient-centered care, timely response, efficiency, and equality. Their management goals should try to improve these aspects.
- Improving staff competency: Healthcare institutions must employ competent people to run the show, including everyone from the physicians to technicians. Therefore, hospitals should encourage the staff to participate in training to develop their skills. Some hospitals offer reimbursement programs to help employees earn their degrees. Not only will this encourage more professionals to improve their skills, but it will also benefit the hospital.
- Use technology: Automation benefits everyone by making everything more efficient. Hospitals are already using EHR technology for patient records. But, they can collate information with Big Data to provide valuable insights into patient treatment. This technology combined with analytics can make it easier to identify best practices to improve patient outcomes. New tools, such as Meds360, can improve medication safety and offer better medication reconciliation.
- Focus on the patient: New ideas about healthcare are changing how we think about patient care. Healthcare institutions are rethinking ideas about care delivery as they move towards a patient-centered approach. Healthcare professionals have to realize that patients view healthcare as a necessity and commodity. Managers should always prioritize patients and remain patient-centered.
- Encourage collaboration: The top-down leadership approach is an outdated concept. Healthcare workers have to work in teams with several people from different backgrounds at the same time. They have to build a bond to improve collaboration among partners. Collaboration can optimize resource development, enhance communication, and improve patient outcomes.
- Focus on accountability: According to experts, medical errors are the leading cause of death in healthcare. Substantial evidence also suggests that most of these deaths are preventable through proper training. Managers have to hold people responsible for their mistakes. And, staff should report on their daily, weekly, and monthly tasks. Only when every staff member is responsive and accountable will the management improve. Consequently, patients will get better treatment, and patient satisfaction will increase.
- Identify the inadequacies: The first step in addressing issues is identifying the problems. Only by knowing your issues can you start working on fixing them? Self-assessment and self-analysis can help a worker reflect on their strengths and weaknesses. Conscientious employees can use this opportunity to reinforce new skills and behaviors.
- Keep everything updated: Managers must keep the information updated for emergencies. For example, hospital staff may change their personal contact information without informing the hospital. So, the hospital may face issues when they need the help of medical professionals. Good hospital management includes ensuring that employee contact details are not outdated and that the staff is readily available in an emergency.
- Oversee departments: Some departments are more likely to be more chaotic than others. For example, the emergency department is often the busiest place in the hospital. The chaos can increase patient waiting times, frustration and escalate the risk for patients requiring critical care. Furthermore, disorganized and severely overcrowded departments increase patient fatality rates. Managers can improve the situation by supervising these departments to improve patient outcomes.
- Establish MCS: Medicaid introduced the idea of Managed Care Systems. Under this system, the state contracts with MCOs to provide medical services through their network of doctors and hospitals. This system improves punctuality and ensures a well-managed stock for in-demand medicine. This practice is beneficial when dealing with national and global healthcare crises such as pandemics.
Effective management is fundamental to the success of any organization. The healthcare system is facing several challenges for the past 30 years. After the pandemic, the situation became dire. As our brave heroes fight on the front lines, every person must provide them much deserved support. With the tips mentioned above, healthcare managers and leaders can help medical professionals by improving the management and efficiency of the institute. In turn, this will lead to better healthcare services for patients.