Hospitals: Saving Costs in Order to Make Our Healthcare System More Patient Friendly

Mar 21, 2018

There has being a dramatic progress in healthcare overall, but are we having more pluses or minuses do to that? A lot of financing is going into getting new technologies, creating new medicine for patients, and hiring more doctors and nurses. It is great, but are we using our finances wisely? Probably not, the system remains disorganized (lack of beds at the hospitals) is a perfect example of that. What can be done to change that? The next few articles will open a door to how the hospital system is lacking structure and that patients might soon come to receiving care at home. I had a chance to speak with a family member and my friend encountered these problems, when it came to their own family members (lack of resources in their own place of living, meant going to a different town and city to receive treatment). Speaking with relative from USA, also gave me some insight into her view on things.

DO HOSPITALS STILL MAKE SENSE? THE CASE FOR DECENTRALIZATION OF HEALTH CARE

CATALYST.NEJM.ORG

The article, by Jennifer L. Wiler, MD, MBA, and Nir J. Harish, MD, FAAE gives us an an overview as to how much hospitals have changed over the years.  From small and humble “almshouses” to large, profitable and technology driven institutions. What does it mean? It was noted, that with the changes in technology, and the growth of digital and virtual health, together with the “movement of higher-acuity care into the outpatient environment” we will shift from a large healthcare system to a smaller, more accessible and affordable one. Soon large healthcare institutions will be diminished. Jennifer L. Wiler and Nir. J. Harish make us realize that technology has very much become a part of today’s healthcare system. As they underline: until recently it was hard to coordinate or bring patients in and understand care longitidudinally without EHRs (Electronic Health Records) system. Since doctors needed to rely on using advanced technologies (imaging and lasers) for example, a financial model needed to be in place. This article underlines that healthcare indeed will change over time and soon there will be no need for patients to be inside the 4 walls to receive the care they need. With the technology changing at a fast speed, the rise for mobile health is happening. The authors provide an example of (HaH) program, in which patients are being admitted, but instead of a hospital, at home and connected to a hospital instead – remotely.

Total costs of care were reduced by 19%
Only 2.5% of 323 patients had to be transferred into the hospital from home

Statistics and examples have being also  given for us to see that even with hiring a lot of staff, patients still wait to for beds to be available and for them to receive proper care. As we read the article, the authors show us that even with the hospitals remaining in place, they can receive the same care at home.

RURAL OR URBAN: IS THERE A BIG DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HEALTHCARE SYSTEMS?

When you think of the word, “healthcare”, being cared for comes to mind. When you or someone gets sick, be it your family or friends, coming to the doctor shouldn’t be problem. Right? Not always true, unfortunately. I had a talk recently with my cousin and she asked to remain anonymous. Her dad has being sick for a while and getting treatment, especially when you come from a small town, is not easy. Unlike leaving in a big city, like Toronto, if you are unhappy with your doctor, you can change. When you leave in a small town, unless you move to a different one, then the change can happen. Otherwise, you have no choice and have to see the doctor you have. As we continued to talk, it was mentioned that one of the hospitals (there were two where he lived), had to close down. After being admitted, he was misdiagnosed and had to be airlifted to another hospital. Now that he did move to another town, at least his health is under control and his condition is stable. He can be home. He is happy with the doctors there. From a long time ago, I remember speaking with a friend of mine who had to drive her dad all the way from a small town to Ottawa, just so he could get treatment. He could have easily gotten treated where he lived and did not need to drive back and forth like he did. It doesn’t have to be that way – access to proper healthcare should be available everywhere. I also had a chance to speak recently with my relative from USA (New Jersey). She works in a healthcare industry as a nurse. Here is what she had to say:

“I feel like one of the problems it’s staffing and cost containment. Nurse salaries and benefits are among the largest components of the hospital expenses and thus are an easy target when balancing budgets. However, decisions to cut labor costs are sometimes shortsighted when the long term impacts cost and patients care quality is not considered. I would like to see some changes in a future regarding this.”

A quick overview of a difference between the costs in rural and urban areas:

  • Rural hospitals 63.48% 63.48%
  • Urban hospitals 35.84% 35.84%

Rural hospitals earned an average rank of 63.48 out of a 100 indicating relatively low charges. Urban earned 35.84 out of a 100, indicating relatively high charges.”

What we can rule out of this. No matter where you live, rural or urban area and where, you will face with pretty much similar problems. High costs and disorganized system, lack of resources and a struggle to provide proper patient care.

“The only way to keep your health is to eat what you you don’t want, drink what you don’t like and do what you’d ruther not”.

Mark Twain

 

Canada’s health-care system is third-last in new ranking of developed countries

globalnews.ca

Monique Scotti, opens a whole new picture to us on how low our healthcare is in the rankings. “ Canada’s health care system is ranked 9th among 11 of the world’s most affluent countries.” – Global News. Australia, United Kingdom and Netherlands are on the top and due to our healthcare being weak, we are lagging behind. Monique shows us that the countries that spend less come out on top and spending more is not always the best approach. Canada is still doing pretty well (low mortality rate after a heart attack), and we have more patients surviving cancer. Not too much time is wasted on Administrative work. The authors note, that small difference between scores and metrics, can bump the country up or down the list. Canada did jump one spot, but we still have a long way to go.

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