The healthcare systems degenerate over time, compromising patients’ health. Research shows that approximately 15 percent of hospital expenditures are due to treating infections resulting from negligence in patient care. A degraded healthcare system is when systems and services cannot diagnose, cure, or manage a disease or injury.
The institution is constrained to improve or maintain function, and patients cannot obtain information about their health status and prognosis. Such a situation negatively impacts a health institution and can lead to closure if left unchecked.
Tell-tale signs reveal a deteriorating healthcare environment that every healthcare provider should beware of in their practice. The indicators include aging infrastructure, preventable medical errors, lack of transparency, and service inefficiencies.
Infrastructure in a health institution does not degenerate overnight. The neglected maintenance procedures, repairs, replacements, etc., soon render your practice dysfunctional when unattended for long periods. The infrastructure refers to the equipment, logistics, & technology required to operate a hospital.
When your hospital setup facilities are dilapidated, it compromises particular procedures like diagnostics and quality patient care. Diagnostic procedures are critical in any healthcare institution because they determine the treatment protocols. Medical misdiagnosis can be fatal, damaging the medical practice’s reputation.
Gradually, the clinic is disabled to handle patients streaming in, and those requiring offsite medical attention do not access it, which may result in many with chronic conditions losing their lives. Affordability of the health service further aggravates the situation as more patients need assisted programs to foot their bills.
Preventable Medical Errors:
Medical errors account for 10 percent of all U.S. deaths and make it the third leading cause of death after heart disease and cancer. The statistics reveal the dire situation of many medical institutions needing a change. Staff in many hospitals are overworked and suffer burnout. Hence, the medics become vulnerable to misdiagnosing patients or implementing incorrect treatment protocols.
Prevention or elimination of medical errors partly requires a meticulous operating system and culture that favors continuous improvement. Quality control checks should be in place to identify the likely error loopholes and improve the organization’s processes. However, when the institution is constrained, it is more likely to focus on surviving the day.
Your health institution must identify errors of omission and commission and establish approaches to deal with them. Omission errors happen when staff does not take the required action, resulting in an accident or undesirable outcomes. A commission error is a wrong course of action taken. A health institution must have procedures to contain such blunders.
Lack of Transparency:
Transparency and accountability in any institution foster positive public perception. Unfortunately, many healthcare institutions do not embrace transparency in their governance structures. Now and then, stories come up of fraud & cover-ups that are rampant in the U.S. healthcare system.
At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, many hospitals suffered diminished revenues due to the adverse effects of movement restrictions and suppressed income. The situation worsened already struggling healthcare institutions, and some adapted unethical practices to survive. Common fraud in hospitals involves inflating patient bills covered by insurance for medical care.
Some hospitals have perfected the art of covering up fraudulent practices that experts in the field cannot discern the wrongdoing. Unfortunately, the patients pay the price because they receive less than perfect services at exorbitant rates. Sometimes, patients need to pay out-of-pocket to top up the limited insurance cover.
Service inefficiencies are symptoms of institutions struggling with their infrastructure. The people and resources in the health care centers can hardly support their needs. There is likely to be duplication of efforts, non-optimal use of resources, and waste that lead to inefficiencies in servicing the customers.
It is only a matter of time before you lose track of revenues and expenditures, leading to unaccountability. In such a situation, you may want to pause and ask yourself, what is revenue cycle management? Revenue cycle management helps you keep track of all expenditures, revenue, and any transaction about the institution.
Managing without an efficient system can be a nightmare in a health center where significant payments involve insurance companies. Doctors spend unnecessary time updating EHRs and coordinating with insurance companies due to coverage restrictions (each plan differs in coverage options), which wastes money and resources.
You can replace such an obsolete process with one that works to generate accurate and reliable patient information. Consequently, medic staff can concentrate on handling patients instead of spending time on non-value-add activities.
The Signs of a Degrading Health Facility:
Before a health institution collapses under the weight of degradation, there will likely be plenty of indications. It starts with a few customer complaints before building into a center prone to a negative public image. Nip the first sign of decline in the bud to avoid it becoming a catastrophe.
The best action is to adopt preventative measures to preempt the occurrences. If your institution has significant manual processes, you are more likely to experience degradation with time. Automated systems make work easier for everyone, and the onus is to learn how to optimize systems that work for your clinic.