“Healthcare Finance Management” is a challenging and ever changing area in healthcare. Entrepreneurs, doctors, management professionals are all constantly at lookout for ways to contain costs in healthcare. I was an invited speaker and panelist at a recently held conference in Bangalore.(My talk)
The discussions and interactions at the “Challenges and Best practices in Healthcare Financial Management and Accounting” turned out to be interesting and engaging. I am presenting a brief overview of this conference on healthcare finance management below. (View Healthcare Finance Management Conference – Agenda.)
The first half of the day was filled with discussions on interesting aspects with majority discussions centre d around insurance, TPAs and Credit business in healthcare. Active questioning and discussions happened on this important area, considering about 5% of the claims are disallowed by the insurance companies citing various issues. There was also a stress on aspects such as how NOT to submit your documents for insurance and how NOT to manipulate / mismanage the records to make insurance claims. One important point raised was the resistance of the healthcare community for standardisation and protocol / guidelines for standardisation.
Post lunch session saw a panel discussion on “Inventory management and cost cutting without compromising quality” on which we had experts voicing strategies on standardisation tools, pharmacy & stores inventory management and inventory tracking and cost cutting strategies without cutting corners. (I was the expert panelist on cost cutting without compromising quality.)
Panel Discussion – Overview
- Decreasing the size of the hospital formulary thus cutting costs. With a small formulary for inpatients, the costs of procurement of drugs can be drastically cut down as you’d be focussing on a fewer medicines. Another aspect is using generic drugs which can cut down the costs multifold.
- Inventory tracking was discussed in detail about how it impacts healthcare. A lot was discussed on how to go about it which can cut down the costs.
- Standardisation was discussed as a way to cut down costs and improve quality of care. With standardised treatment methods, standardised protocols evaluation of the resources used, assessment of the wastage and areas of improvement could be identified. Subse quent cost cutting strategies can be implemented without a compromise in quality of care.
- Quality care comes with involvement of clinicians and nurses. On the same ground, minimising wastage is an important step that improves efficiency, safety and at the same time reduces costs.
My talk immediately followed, on the “Impact of IT on Hospital Profitability” . I have uploaded the pdf version of my talk online Impac t of IT in Hospital Profitability
About half of the audience was comprised of doctor-entrepreneurs and clinicians, while the other half was into accounting in this conference. The idea of implementing an Health information system is exciting but if IT were to work in isolation from the other segments of your hospital (i.e. if it were to just act as a link only) it will not give the returns as expected. Also a careful evaluation of the human factors like the physician and nurse responses to the proposed new systems with working demos arranged by the vendor can help assess and prepare your team for the new change.
A workflow change is also required as the introduction of IT makes drastic changes in the way patient moves between departments. Legal issues include the onus of proving that no records were changed and the ability to provide the trail of changes in the records. These are some of the important aspects that need to be understood before even considering implementing an Electronic Health Record system at your practice.
There was an excellent talk on how to attract investors into your practice as well which marked the end of the conference. The conference saw an impressive list of attendees, speakers, hospital administrators, doctor-entrepreneurs, financial experts and consultants.