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By Mark Bridenstine

How will we grow in 2012? No doubt this is top of mind for your hospital or lab as the new year fast approaches.

On this topic, Beckers Hospital Review just compiled 10 Ways for Hospitals and Health Systems to Increase Profitability in 2012. You can view the full article here.
Number 5 on their list is: control labor costs with meticulous data collecting. 
The article goes on to say:

At most hospitals, more than 50 percent of expenses are related to labor costs or labor-related costs, and Mr. Lahidjani says "if you can't control your labor costs, working on anything else almost becomes immaterial."

Mr. Lahidjani, who also used to be CEO of the physician-owned and Los Angeles-based Miracle Mile Medical Center and CFO of Los Angeles-based Alta Healthcare System, says his hospitals hold daily "labor control meetings" for 10 minutes. Every department shows up, goes over their respective staffing metrics and manages their labor on a dollar-per-patient-day level. "If we are overstaffed by one nurse in surgery and understaffed by one nurse in the emergency room, can we move the surgical nurse to the ER?" Mr. Lahidjani says. "This type of communication where every manager and operator in the hospital gets on the same page also creates awareness of what's going on in the other parts of the hospital."

If hospitals do not manage their labor costs or have staff meetings on their labor rolls every day, then he says hospitals should, at the very least, be data-driven on this front on a bi-weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual basis.

Immediately after reading this tip, I had several thoughts around general data collection and laboratory costs.
  • Yes, data of all kinds is critical to your hospital or laboratory. And it's true that personnel is likely one of the biggest–if not the single largest–expense for your company. At that, some of your team likely consists of individuals who do nothing but run reports in order to help with decision making.
  • But is reviewing analytics on a bi-weekly or quarterly basis truly "data-driven?"
  • Here at Bostech /, we believe that being data-driven means having real-time, critical information at your fingertips and immediately turning it into action. Your healthcare CRM or lab management tools aren't very helpful if they require you to spend all of your energy compiling rather than executing.
  • Along the lines of keeping personnel costs in line, aren't there other important initiatives or tasks you'd rather have your personnel spending time on?

The obstacles that currently stand in the way for many hospitals and labs don't have to persist. The healthcare software system is changing the way that that hospitals and laboratories access, update, and act upon critical data. To learn more, download our toolkit.

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