By: Paige Heaphy, Chief Integration Officer
The challenge keeps getting harder for health systems trying to compete for market share and grow margins. If you aren’t growing margins 2% to 5%, then you are at risk of falling behind in a competitive market.
With 2022 off to a difficult start for most providers as a result of the Omicron variant at the beginning of the year, the ability to grow puts more pressure than ever on the key levers for hospital operators: lowering the cost of delivering care, generating more revenue and collecting more revenue for care delivered.
Automation, which has been considered a “nice to have” to address customer experience, is now a business imperative because it’s the most direct way to improve operating margins. And all automation solutions aren’t the same. There is a solution and there is the right solution.
We are in a perfect storm of staffing issues and supply chain issues, just when hospitals have weathered a difficult two years of pandemic.
Labor costs per adjusted discharge were up 26% in November 2021 versus pre-pandemic levels for the same period, according to a Kaufman Hall report. Non-labor costs are experiencing dramatic growth, as well, with widespread supply chain shortages, and 85% of hospitals reporting increased costs related to supply chain.
And it’s not getting easier, with no visibility on a time when those expense pressures will slacken. And some of the issues aren’t temporal, but rather structural, as systems face the pressure to compete in a value-based environment.
Deloitte points to five keys for how healthcare executives can address margin growth:
- Increase system efficiencies beyond what is needed to be profitable
- Operate as a consolidated system
- Pursue or expand new revenue streams
- Diversify beyond the core hospital
- Improve revenue cycle systems
The Right Solution
Tackling those five imperatives means deploying automation to deliver better cost savings, revenue generation and revenue collection. Finding the right tools to drive savings and generate and collect more revenue is critical, but not all solutions are the same. Here is a sampling of the elements that make up a superior solution:
Omnichannel capabilities—Efficiency in lowering costs, generating revenue and collecting revenue means being able to automate the interactions no matter what channel a request comes from—text or voice—and to reach patients via their preferred channel, thus casting a wider net.
Personalized virtual assistants—Creating a named, humanlike personality to serve customers facilitates their care journey, provides empathy and better supports your brand.
A platform across the journey—An eye toward the capability to partner with you across the whole patient journey separates superior solution providers.
For more about the automation imperative and to learn about the other elements of a superior solution, download our free e-book “The Automation Imperative to Improve Margins.”