Reducing healthcare provider expenditures and increasing revenues with a focus on quality outcomes is what our business is all about. Ou team carefully analyzes market trends in the medical industry’s support service areas to understand which services generate revenue compared to those that strain your business’s cash flow.
This year, our team found dozens of innovative strategies to boost revenue streams and improve overall patient experience at the same time. You might be asking, how could be possible to improve healthcare services while cutting costs?
That’s exactly the type of question that Soriant will answer for your business. There is never a one-size-fits-all solution, but there are an endless number of strategies that might work for your facility or healthcare system. Specifically, our healthcare consulting firm has found some interesting ways to save money for hospitals and health systems.
Improving patient experience with Food and Nutrition
When we talk about acute care, we are referring to healthcare centers that specialize in non-chronic medical treatment. In other words, this is the branch of healthcare that deals with patients that are briefly hospitalized for intensive, but short-lived procedures like emergency care, surgery, or injury treatment.
In the time that someone is hospitalized at your healthcare facility, the main goal should be two-fold: how can quality of care be advanced and how can we be best stewards without cutting corners?
Food and nutrition services is a large expenditure for hospitals and healthcare facilities. There is an enormous opportunity to replace wasteful (and even unhealthy) cooking practices with more cost-effective and nutritious options. For example:
- Removing deep fryers has triggered a sudden, measurable boost in the quality of care for many patients. As the American consumer base becomes more health-conscious, brands and restaurants are scratching high-fat ingredients and offering a variety of low calorie, all natural foods. When patients or visitors enter a hospital, fried chicken or French fries are one of the last menu items they expect to see. In fact, customers are even willing to pay more for food that appears healthy and doesn’t use the same cooking processes as their favorite fast food restaurant. By switching to conventional oven-baked cooking methods, patrons are receiving more nutritious meals, while you save money on expensive frying oils and can market a healthy menu.
- A majority of your facility’s food sales probably occur within a small window of just a few hours. Employees, visitors, and patients routinely eat at a hospital’s retail outlet(s) during lunch hours, while breakfast and dinner are usually much calmer. How can you increase sales during slow times, like from 2-4 pm? Special promotions or bundling deals are great ways to increase cash flow during otherwise wasted hours. A “happy hour” where the retail outlet offers discounted snack options is a great solution. Selling a simple cookie and coffee for a bundled low price can instantly drive daily sales while simultaneously providing a “pick me up” for caregivers. Does your hospital offer coffee? Of course, it does, and coffee is probably a big seller among staff and visitors. Maximizing your quality and contributions will increase your sales, just a few cents on each cup can easily compound into thousands of dollars over the course of a single week. By switching to new, more advanced Starbucks coffee machines, you can replace less efficient models that rely on freeze-dried or liquid brewing. The investment pays for itself and you can generate even more revenue on one of your highest volume products.
As you can see, sometimes the smallest fixes can provide an enormous increase in the quality of patient care and the amount of money your business takes in. In many cases though, we need a more creative response, as well:
- Micro market facilities (especially for employees) are one of the quickest ways to cut down on unnecessary staffing. Similar to the small kiosks we see at the airport, micro-market stores offer an assortment of healthy sandwiches, snacks, and beverages in space-saving coolers. When someone wants to purchase an item, they simply reach into the cooler and scan it themselves, simply inserting a credit card when the machine asks for payment. No longer does your facility have to spend money to staff these small snack counters 24 hours a day. Not to worry, these micro-markets are also outfitted to security measures and cameras to reduce theft.
- Expedition cooking can transform the retail dining area of your hospital. By installing a wok, sauté pasta station, or a design-your-own-salad bar, diners are faced with the excitement factor they crave. With this added layer of culinary satisfaction, consumers have a better experience and you can also charge higher prices.
- Hospitals spend a small fortune on waste disposal. The company you use to haul off your trash bases their rates on the material that’s inside the bag. Cardboard, for example, will be hauled away and instead of charging a fee for the service, the waste contractor will pay your organization a fee per pound. By segregating trash into either compost or comingled municipal garbage, you drastically reduce the cost for each cubic yard of waste that is picked up by your waste management team.
These are some of the exciting ways that hospitals are adapting to the market trends of 2015, simply through the way they handle food service. Thousands of patients and care givers across the country now express greater satisfaction with these new and improved services, while hospitals themselves can improve their bottom line.