Reducing Costs And Improving The Quality Of Healthcare
A recent study by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation reported that the United States has one of the highest costs of healthcare in the world. Despite spending significantly more on healthcare compared to other nations, the U.S. still doesn’t have better healthcare outcomes. In fact, the U.S. has a lower life expectancy rate and a higher rate of excess mortality than other comparable countries. This dilemma baffles many – and for good reason. How could we possibly spend more than other nations on healthcare, but the quality of said healthcare is worse? It’s a difficult question to answer, one that has many contributing factors, and not all of them are within the healthcare system’s control. However, there are a few things that are within the industry’s control – things like an internal attempt to balance cost reduction with quality improvement wherever necessary. By reducing costs and improving the quality of healthcare, the patient experience can improve.
The Peter G. Peterson Foundation study also reported that the average healthcare spend per person is about $12,900 per person. While some individuals may incur more costs and others may incur less, many healthcare problems are preventable through quality care, resulting in a cost reduction. If an individual never experiences a preventable healthcare event, they will never incur the costs of said healthcare. Additionally – lower-quality care actually increases the cost of healthcare altogether. The World Health Organization reported that adverse effects due to unsafe care is likely one of the top 10 leading causes of death and disability in the entire world. They also reported that up to 4 in 10 patients globally are harmed in primary and outpatient health care and that up to 80% of harm is preventable. Focusing on improving quality care is one of the many ways to lower healthcare costs.
No healthcare organization wants to be directly responsible for bringing harm to their patients. Causing harm to patients goes directly against the Hippocratic Oath – a creed that all doctors swear to before becoming practicing physicians. One of the most important promises within the Hippocratic Oath is “primum non nocere” or “First, do no harm.” Nurses swear by a similar oath known as the Nightingale Pledge, named after the founder of modern nursing, Florence Nightingale.
Why should we lower healthcare costs? Reducing costs and improving the quality of healthcare can improve patient quality of life and the U.S. economy. It can make the U.S. a safer place to live. By focusing on preventive care, healthcare providers can explain how improving quality can lead to reduced costs over the long term.
Strategies To Reduce Healthcare Costs
How to reduce healthcare costs in hospitals and other healthcare settings is one of the most pressing questions in the healthcare industry. It is an indisputable fact that providing care incurs costs and that doctors, nurses, and other healthcare administrators must be paid for their work. However, there are strategies to reduce healthcare costs that focus on optimization and efficiency, providing better care at a lower cost.
There are many ideas and theories on ways to control the rising cost of healthcare in the United States. Not all hospital cost reduction strategies are viable, and not all of them would work equally if applied across every kind of healthcare organization. To begin, let’s answer this question: what are three ways to reduce healthcare costs and improve patient quality?
1. Emphasize preventative care and early prevention.
Many kinds of expensive healthcare issues are a result of catching the problem too late, such as cancer or organ failure. Shifting focus from expensive treatments to preventative care and early intervention can help reduce costs in the long run. By promoting health behaviors, routine screenings, and early detection of illness, healthcare providers can prevent or manage conditions before they become more costly to treat.
2. Encourage transparency and consumer engagement.
Increasing transparency about healthcare costs and outcomes empowers patients to make more informed decisions. Providing accessible information about the quality and cost of healthcare services allows patients to choose providers who offer high-quality care at a reasonable cost. Engaging patients in shared decision-making and promoting health literacy can also lead to better healthcare choices and outcomes while reducing costs.
3. Implement health information technology.
Adopting electronic health records (EHRs) and health information exchange systems can improve communication among healthcare providers and reduce medical errors. Access to comprehensive patient data can enable more informed decision-making, reduce redundant tests, and improve overall care quality.
While there are many other innovative ways to reduce healthcare costs, any organization can make a start at optimizing and streamlining its current processes.
Benefits Of Reducing Healthcare Costs
Cost-effectiveness in nursing has many benefits for patients, healthcare workers, and the healthcare industry as a whole. The benefits of reducing healthcare costs impact everyone, from patients to hospital owners.
Cost-effective care can result in reduced administrative burden. Creating cost-effective care often involves streamlining administrative processes, eliminating unnecessary paperwork, and reducing bureaucratic inefficiencies. How can healthcare organizations use clinical data to increase quality while reducing costs? Using technology to parse through information to discover what is really important can alleviate the administrative burden on healthcare workers, allowing them to focus more on patient care and clinical decision-making.
Another benefit of cost-effective care for the healthcare industry is improved collaboration and teamwork. Cost-effective care requires effective communication and collaboration among team members. This promotes interdisciplinary teamwork, coordination, and information sharing. This can lead to better patient outcomes and a more cohesive and supportive work environment for healthcare workers.
The benefits of providing more cost-effective care to patients are immense. One of the biggest benefits of cost reduction is improved affordability. Lowering healthcare costs can make healthcare services more accessible to individuals and families, especially those who have limited access to financial resources. Thanks to this new accessibility, patients can afford to receive more preventative care, which helps to keep healthcare costs low and prevent health issues from spiraling. This helps to reduce the cost of healthcare without compromising patients’ health and safety.
Another benefit of reduced healthcare costs overall is the positive impact on the economy. Reduced healthcare expenditures can free up resources that can be directed toward other sectors, contributing to economic growth and development. Additionally, individuals and families with reduced healthcare costs have more disposable income, which can stimulate consumer spending and support local economies.
One popular theory for reducing healthcare costs is implementing universal healthcare. How will universal healthcare reduce medical costs? The implementation of universal health care can increase administrative efficiency, create bulk purchasing power, focus on preventative care, and improve access to primary care physicians that help detect health problems in early onset.