“Rush” is responsible for creating more errors, more waste, and more frustration than most anything else. And much of what happens in a busy healthcare environment is done “stat”, in a rush.
This is not to say that healthcare providers are irresponsible. In fact, it is their attention to providing the utmost quality of healthcare to their patients that distracts them, appropriately, from worrying about other causes of waste such as supplies, equipment, and communications. Drop a glove? Take another one. Need a consult from a colleague? Use the fastest path possible, without worrying about cost. The nature of healthcare service literally requires that professionals work this way. We all want them to.
Emergencies Exacerbate the Problem
The COVID-19 pandemic has redefined “rush.” With hospital beds and ICU’s filled with extremely ill patients each requiring excessive care there’s absolutely no time to worry about anything that doesn’t directly help patients.
Beyond that, however, are other challenges created by the pandemic that are unique to the awful realities of this illness. Many families cannot visit their loved ones in a hospital so facilities have provided tablet devices enabling those patients to see and speak with their family members over a videoconferencing service. Intercommunication between facilities all over the world have enabled the sharing of critical equipment and supplies.
Non-COVID patients face new challenges as well. Fearful of the offices and healthcare facilities they usually visit to see their doctors, patients face significant deterioration of their own care. Many such facilities have enabled “telehealth” services in which patients can “visit” with their doctors using videoconferencing and telemetry communications. Even setting appointments is completely automated online for them, further reducing staff workload.
When in-person services are absolutely required the new normal is to wait in one’s own car rather than enter a waiting room. Upon arrival, patients call or text into the front desk letting them know they’ve arrived. When the doctor is ready to see them, they receive a notification on their mobile device. This enables minimal presence inside the facility.
Getting Technology Expense Back Under Control
With all these new strategies and highly increased use of diagnostic systems requiring interconnection the sheer volume of technology-supporting telecom activity is dramatically increased. Add to that the explosion of rushing required by a huge, constantly growing volume of ill patients, and you have an environment certain to generate a high degree of error in technology-related billing and inventory management. Administrators are reactively ordering up additional lines of connections to the internet, cloud services, and additional devices as the need arises. Nobody has time to maintain control or seek preferable rates. That’s all just off the table.
On the subject of preferable rates, another advantage that experienced TEM professionals provide is their ability to negotiate with carriers, cloud, and other service providers to seek concessions and other assistance they can be providing during this difficult time.
As such, the need for technology expense management (TEM) services for healthcare organizations has never been higher. TEM experts, completely unrelated to provider staff, can come in after-the-fact and review everything that has transpired, identifying and correcting billing errors, evaluating the fluctuating condition of the installed base of devices and services to identify and resolve waste, and recommending proactive strategies that can improve services to a community deeply in need of as much help as possible.
Digital Transformation Becomes Vital
What healthcare organizations are experiencing is perhaps the largest, fastest-moving, most difficult to control, unplanned digital transformation of all. Similar to the classic image of repairing an aircraft in mid-flight, TEM professionals are challenged to find as much savings and identify better approaches to computing and communicating than ever before even as these professionals are creating new ways to leverage technology “on-the-fly.”
Fortunately, quality TEM providers have the tools, the software, the systems, the automation, and the expertise to observe, evaluate, and recommend superior solutions where they are most desperately needed. They can take care of the entire backoffice IT workload right up to and including making payments on behalf of the healthcare organizations.
In an environment that drives everything to the edge of capacity and control, a quality TEM provider offers the leverage to keep at least one major area of expense under better control.