If you’ve been following along, we’re on part three of our four-part series about different approaches healthcare systems are using to manage administration and costs.
As healthcare grows increasingly complex, the mountain of digital “paperwork” continues to grow. It’s slowing down our organizations, overburdening our employees with repetitive, menial work, and harming the entire healthcare economy due to the wasted resources and money. But filing claims, checking eligibility, and all of the other various administrative tasks cannot simply be ignored. You may not be able to overhaul the system, but healthcare providers can streamline internal processes to save time and money.
Want to get caught up on the two methods we already covered?
This week, we’re discussing the option of hiring consultants. Many healthcare systems turn to consultants to provide objective perspectives and advice on potential internal inefficiencies and solutions. But what are the advantages and disadvantages of this approach?
At their best, consultants are knowledgeable experts that dive deep into your unique organization to find efficiencies.
A good consultant will spend time observing, evaluating, and talking to staff to find inefficiencies and opportunities for improvement. They will work with you to develop short and long-term goals as well as strategies on how to get there successfully. This could include anything from reorganization, process engineering, or even implementing new technology solutions.
They bring an objective perspective, creativity, and industry experience to your specific challenges. Consultants should have experience with and knowledge of cutting-edge technology, along with the pros and cons of each option, to help guide your organization to make the best decision. Their experience at other providers gives them a different viewpoint through which to judge your own organization’s strengths and weaknesses. And compared to hiring new employees, a consultant can be a cost-effective method for reducing overall costs, streamlining processes, and improving your bottom line.
Learning the disadvantages of consultants
At their worst, consultants are expensive, time-consuming, and implement “solutions” that may not meaningfully move the needle. Most consultants require a lot of money up-front, without any promise or indication of what their output and impact will be.
Here are just a few things to consider: if a consultant recommends that a healthcare organization implement a new software, for instance, the organization has to worry about licensing fees, software maintenance, integrators, implementation costs, internal expertise, managing potential break / fixes down the road, and more.
And even when implementing a new software could be extremely beneficial in the long run, the fiscal impact can sometimes be shocking – aside from the cost of technology and hours of staff time and resources wasted on the integration, if the technology doesn’t prove beneficial, the company has already made the investment.
Whatever their solution, it likely requires enormous internal change for your staff. Before hiring any consultant, be sure they have had success in eliminating the healthcare-specific pain points your organization is experiencing, see what their timelines and solutions have been for other clients, and make sure it aligns with your organization’s needs.
Consultants are no guarantee
Consultants can help cut costs, but it is no guarantee. Next week, in our final post in the series, we’ll discuss outsourcing as an option for reducing the administrative burden. Don’t want to wait? We’ve got our free eBook, 6 Ways to Cut the Staggering Cost of Healthcare Administration, that covers all this and more. Download it today to learn how other healthcare systems are tackling this problem and how to find a solution that will work best for your organization.