As the recession took hold of the US economy in 2008 and 2009, I was often told that I was in as close to a recession-proof industry as I could be. After all, people generally don’t have control over when they get sick or need to go to the doctor or hospital.
While that may be true, contrary to common misconception, the healthcare industry is not as recession proof as I have come to learn.
Many of our customers are non-for-profit and rely heavily on donations, grants and investments as a primary source of income. Data has shown that charitable giving is way down from previous years, there is less grant money available and it is more competitive than ever to get it. And with the stock market tanking in 2008, investments income has fallen. These factors shed light on why health care providers are working diligently to lower costs, reduce consumption and consolidate many of their overlapping areas.
One big way hospitals can reduce waste and unnecessary costs is by advancing their technology, specifically by implementing and using all the features of a policy and procedure management software. Most of the hospitals I visit these days are moving away from storing their policies, procedures, forms and other relevant documents in printed fashion using three ring binders.
However, there is still an enormous amount of printing that is being done with these documents on a daily basis. Document reviews and edits, collaboration sessions, routing for approvals and signatures, even simple updates all seem to be accomplished in a very manual, inefficient and costly way& especially when you consider that software such as PolicyStat automates approval flows, allowing editors to easily review, edit and track changes without printing a page.
The average hospital has over 1,000 policies alone, not to mention all of the other documents such as physician order sets, outpatient instructions, miscellaneous forms, etc.
The average hospital has over 1,000 policies alone, not to mention all of the other documents such as physician order sets, outpatient instructions, miscellaneous forms, etc. When you combine all of these together, the average facility may be managing close to 5,000 different documents. If the average document is three pages long and it changes just twice a year, that equates to roughly 30,000 printed pages. Add in print cartridges, maintenance and the energy used by these machines and the cost could be significant.
Technology can play a critical role here by helping organizations move away from “the way we’ve always done it” to help them take a small step towards reducing the unnecessary printing of policies, procedures and forms. Carry this approach on to other areas within a hospital and before you know it, your facility could be on the cutting edge and becoming leaner, greener and healthier.