Growing pressure on the bottom line underlies all of these difficulties. The age-old challenge of containing healthcare expenses has gained new urgency, and as of June 2022, margins for US hospitals were still cumulatively negative. Financial challenges from the pandemic era are likely to persist for years due to staffing shortages, the termination of COVID-19 relief money, supply chain issues, and rising inflation.
However, hospital executives can control and even lower expenses while raising quality by overcoming a few major obstacles.
1. A lack of compatibility
According to Bloomberg Law, at least 70% of US healthcare practitioners still send and receive medical information through fax. Fax machines are nevertheless sometimes used in hospitals with the most advanced EHR systems. Why? Often, EHRs are unable to communicate data between platforms. Data typically exists in silos even within systems. Vital patient information may occasionally not enter the EHR, be poorly interpreted, or not be completely integrated with clinical decision support tools. For clinical decision assistance to be successful, interoperability must be improved.
2. Improving clinical processes
At the point of care, employees and clinicians require access to information that may be used. Providers must deal with inadequate information, alert fatigue, and delays when workflows are not streamlined. For instance, in a KLAS survey, nearly 50% of clinicians who responded claimed their EHR system loads too slowly. Dissatisfaction with the EHR is a significant contributor to clinicians’ chances of leaving their positions. The best possible use of clinician time and resources must be made via EHRs and linked technology.
3. Staffing issues and burnout
Health systems continue to have a staffing deficit. According to the American College of Healthcare Executives’ annual study, shortages were US hospital CEOs’ top issue in 2021, pushing financial challenges to second place for the first time since 2004.
Many people place a high priority on finding and keeping staff, especially certified nurses. According to a 2022 national study on the nursing workforce, the nursing shortage would worsen through at least 2023. An ageing workforce is also a significant factor, especially as the pandemic persists. Burnout also plays a significant role.
4. Remaining current with developments in medical knowledge and science
Innovations in gene therapy, nanomedicine, mRNA research, digital medicine, and other developing fields are occurring at a “unprecedented and exponential” rate, according to Deloitte. Clinicians also require clarity on the most recent scientific data in light of the increase in COVID-19 pandemic preprints. The difficulty facing health system officials is that hospitals are unable to keep up with these developments.The Boston
The Boston Consulting Group cautions that healthcare administrators and physicians “must change their methods to keep pace with the developments” as the “available treatment armament quickly expands.” The leadership of the hospital must stay up to date on the most recent research and information, and eventually do cost-benefit evaluations of new choices to evaluate how these innovations can best support the delivery of care by their physicians.
5. Promoting equity in health
Nearly $320 billion is spent annually on healthcare disparities. According to a 2022 research from Deloitte, that amount might increase to over $1 trillion by 2040.
Hospital executives are focusing entirely on the treatment discrepancies encountered by underserved patient populations, such as socioeconomic, ethnic, and gender-based disparities, and they are discovering that these issues are challenging to unravel. The language of therapeutic information, such as patient education handouts, can contain subtle biases. They may also spread among the caregivers on a team. For instance, compared to White patients, Black patients are 2.5 times more likely to have poor patient behaviour and history descriptions in EHR notes.
6. Patient protection
Patient safety has long been a tough problem for health systems and their leadership, from drug and diagnostic errors to surgical mishaps. For example, hospital acquired infections (HAIs) continue to place a heavy strain on healthcare systems. After years of reduction, the pandemic was largely to blame for the considerable upsurge in HAIs that US hospitals experienced in 2020.
To provide the finest patient care possible, hospital executives and leaders must overcome a number of obstacles. Having access to reliable clinical technologies and evidence-based treatments can improve decision-making, quality, and patient and financial outcomes throughout the whole care continuum.