“Business problems are like mice – they go unnoticed until they start nibbling your cheese” – and that is when the alarms go off.
A tertiary care cardiac healthcare facility which had been functional for the last one decade and doing good business observed a static pattern in its revenue stream even though the hospital was having ninety percent occupancy (an impressive figure by the industry standards) – even with such high occupancy rates, the hospital was unable to scale up its revenues, which triggered the alarms for the management.
From the onset, the apparent problem was the static revenue stream in spite of average ninety percent occupancy – this symptom called for further probing, to diagnose the root cause.
On further analysis, a set of mutually exclusive and collectively exhaustible list was prepared which shed light on the problem…
Healthcare facility rebranding:
From a multi-speciality facility to a super speciality facility
Shift in the communication scheme
Upgradation of equipment and soft skills
Shift in the referral base
Optimum utilization of resources:
Streamlining the operational processes
Managing the accounts receivables
Healthcare facility rebranding :
On careful analysis of the hospital records, it was observed that the facility was running on ninety percent occupancy, but the majority of these cases were the low end general surgery/general medicine cases which blocked a hospital bed for the same many days as a high end surgery, but the returns were different – the remedial measures involved promoting the hospital as a super speciality centre, doing the high end work. The facility had excellent cardiac and nephrology infrastructure, which it never promoted and the general impression conveyed was of a hospital doing only routine medical work.
Promoting the superspecialities:
This calls for a special focus on the particular medical specialities for which we want the centre to be a super speciality centre – the medical specialists have to be promoted accordingly. They should be encouraged to participate in community programmes (via camps conducted outside the hospital) – this is an inexpensive medium for the specialists to reach out to the people and develop a rapport with the community at large; special CME (Continuous Medical Education) programmes should be conducted in the hospital facility and all referral physicians should be invited to attend – this enables a healthy interaction amongst the medical community and also showcasing the facilities of the hospital which generates trust amongst the referring doctors. The marketing collaterals used by the hospital should also be conveying the same message.
Streamlining the operational processes:
It was observed at another facility that even though the patient was discharged in the morning, yet the patient was able to leave the hospital only in the afternoon – because of a delay in the discharge summary and subsequent delay in the final bill, the hospital bed was blocked till afternoon and it generated no revenues for the facility. Streamlining the discharge process ensured a timely exit from the system and the hospital bed was free to allotted to a another patient.
Managing the accounts receivables:
A major portion of the clientele of the hospital are the corporate customers and insurance companies – their clients avail treatment on credit and the hospital receives payments after a specified number of days as maybe agreed upon.
Generally the hospital should send across all the bills on the month end to maintain its receivables cycle – but due to its internal processes not being in their proper place, the hospital was unable to send the entire receivables before the 10 th of the following month and then the corporate/insurance company would make payments, as per the days specified in the agreement from the date of receiving the bills. The hospital should ensure timely dispatch of bills to maintain its receivables cycle in order.