Cost Containment is a Top Priority in 2019 For Healthcare Executives

Cost Containment is a Top Priority in 2019 For Healthcare Executives

 

In the past few years, healthcare annual expenses have continued to outpace revenue growth, spurring increased interest in cost containment strategies from hospital leaders across the country. And in 2018, The Advisory Board’s Annual Health Care CEO Survey even found that cost control had jumped to the number one priority for healthcare executives as reimbursement dollars continue to shrink. 

During the 2019 Annual Becker’s Hospital Meeting, the Olive team heard leading healthcare executives discuss how rising costs are forcing their organizations to drive greater efficiencies with the same level of resources – all while organizations manage increasing complexity and dwindling reimbursement rates.

So, where can healthcare organizations have the biggest impact on cost containment as they plan for the future?

Today, many traditional cost containment strategies have focused on cutting overhead like human capital, facility, and supply chain costs. But supply and facility costs can only be cut so far, and cutting wages and employee hours is short-sighted, as these strategies contribute to employee burnout and increasing staff turnover rates across the industry. 

If hospitals truly want to reduce waste and contain costs, they need to look to the real source of the problem: operational inefficiencies.

Operational Inefficiencies Are The Leading Cause Of Waste

One out of every three dollars spent on healthcare each year is spent on the repetitive, high-volume tasks that make up the administrative side of healthcare. Increasing regulatory requirements are only adding to the burden – an American Hospital Association study found that an average size hospital today dedicates 59 full time employees to regulatory compliance alone, over a quarter of which are clinical staff. 

Interacting with health insurance plans is also puts pressure on a hospital’s time and resources – from authorizations, formularies, claims and billing, credentialing, contracting, and data quality review, the process is time-consuming and requires many manual steps that are prone to costly errors. Today, flaws in registration and eligibility processes are cited as the primary cause of insurance claim denials – an analysis found that $262 billion of the estimated $3 trillion in claims were initially denied due to errors, translating to an average hospital risking $4.9 million of lost revenues. 

As operational inefficiencies continue to drain valuable resources, it’s easy to see that the never-ending flux of data entry comes at cost – an even bigger cost when you consider the expense of re-work.

At the heart of these process inefficiencies is the lack of interoperability between systems. Data has to be manually pulled and entered from one screen to another, over and over again, making human error inevitable. And with increasingly complex regulatory needs and requirements, an overhaul of the entire system is far-fetched. Hospitals need solutions that work with the systems and processes they already have in place – and this is where organizations have a tremendous opportunity to create financial impact with artificial intelligence. 

 

How Artificial intelligence is Tackling The Problem

Artificial intelligence and robotic process automation have gone from a futuristic buzzwords to real-world solutions providing enormous value at health systems across the country. And while the innovative technologies are being explored for multiple areas, from AI-assisted surgeries to diagnostics, they’re uniquely positioned to solve many of the administrative flaws and headaches that cause so much waste.

Experts anticipate AI for the Healthcare IT market to surpass $1.7 billion by the end of 2019, and through AI and automation, healthcare systems have already begun to reduce expenses and increase revenue recognition. In turn, they’ve been able to take an impact-driven approach to AI implementation, providing both immediate and long-term value to their organizations.

Olive deploys a digital workforce to “shift” these operational inefficiencies from healthcare employees to artificial intelligence as a cost containment strategy. A digital workforce provides operational AI to improve the cost, capacity, and efficiency of administrative business processes by alongside healthcare employees to handle the large amounts of data and repetitive tasks that are draining the industry of resources and revenue. 

Olive saves healthcare organizations time and money by automating some of the most common process bottlenecks like claim status checks, prior authorizations, eligibility verification and more. She has a proven track record of working down massive backlogs of work, allowing organizations to really “catch up” on critical processes, reducing the expense of hiring more (and more) people to handle the work. 

Olive is trained to emulate all of the manual steps associates do – only smarter, faster and more accurately –  reducing costly errors and increasing operational efficiency. Best of all? Our AI-as-a-Service model means there is one simple subscription price and an all-in-one approach to implementing AI, so hospitals can quickly see a positive ROI

To learn more about Olive and how to hire a digital workforce, schedule a demo with us today.

How Burnout is Killing The Healthcare Industry

How Burnout is Killing The Healthcare Industry


Many healthcare leaders today know that labor is the leading cost driver in the industry – the cost of healthcare staff turnover is estimated to be 38% of annual salary expense per employee. And as labor continues to be many organizations biggest expense, employee retention is a critical component to the financial success of any healthcare organization.
But with the industry’s frustrating lack of interoperability, employees have taken on the job of the data processor, shifting the hours spent by employees from being in front of patients, to being in front of computer screens, logged in to disparate EMRs, EHRs and other interfaces shepherding patient data into the right fields. The consequences have manifested in the form of burnt-out employees, skyrocketing administrative costs, and less time spent with each patient – but how big is the problem, and how can we work to solve it?

EMPLOYEE BURNOUT CONTINUES TO INCREASE
  • Employee burnout is growing: studies show that nearly three quarters of healthcare leaders report feeling burned out.¹
  • Employee loyalty is fading: 37% plan to leave their current hospital within the next two years and almost 69% plan to leave within five years.²
  • Burnout is increasing turnover: Average turnover rate in healthcare is 20% and has risen nearly 5% – across all jobs in the industry – over the last decade.³
As this trend continues to grow, it’s no question that employee burnout and staff turnover come with a hefty price tag. The yearly hard dollar cost to recruit and train employees is already high, but when you add in the soft costs, you start to really see the bigger implications – it lowers morale and productivity, which in turn impacts patient care and patient outcomes. Additionally, costly staffing gaps put more pressure on the remaining employees, causing the problem to grow and compound.

Because of these issues, the average hospital has turned over 85.2% of its workforce since 2013, and with 31% of hospitals struggling to find candidates to fill open positions5, solving this growing problem is a top priority for healthcare organizations. To combat these challenges, health systems need a multi-faceted employee retention strategy – one that includes the expected perks like great compensation, benefits, and opportunities for advancement – but most importantly, one that addresses the root of the problem: process inefficiencies that are bogging down healthcare workers across the entire continuum of care.

In healthcare today, employees are suffering a “death by a thousand clicks6” because most hospitals use 10 or more various EHRs, EMRs and other user interfaces, sending employees toggling back and forth between various screens, playing “button Olympics.” 

Aside from being stressful and burdensome to healthcare employees, these administrative inefficiencies result in a trillion dollar spend across the industry.

Working to reduce this burden has a huge impact on a hospital’s bottom line, but retaining top industry talent goes far beyond the numbers. A solid employee retention strategy needs to also consider factors like employee engagement and opportunities to do more meaningful work – this is where organizations have a tremendous opportunity to create both financial impact and increased employee satisfaction with artificial intelligence. 

Artificial intelligence can take robotic tasks off the employee’s to-do list, allowing them to focus on higher-level tasks and initiatives. For front line staff, this means more time to spend with patients, which improves the patient experience and employee satisfaction. For back-office staff, this means more time spent on strategic initiatives and problem-solving, instead of mundane manual data entry.

Innovative health systems across the country are already using artificial intelligence and robotic process automation to alleviate employee burnout and staff turnover. And at Olive, we’re deploying a digital workforce to help “shift” these burdensome workflows from stressed healthcare employees to artificial intelligence. Olive is not another platform, another software, or another process to learn – Olive is the first digital employee built specifically for healthcare to replicate the robotic functions of a human employee, so healthcare employees can focus on more human-like initiatives.

“With Olive, we were able to reallocate 20 full-time employees to meaningful work, not the hours spent in front of their screens. There were no layoffs because there was so much work to do in the billing office that we just weren’t getting to before. Now these employees handle more fulfilling, complex tasks that require a human touch, and Olive takes the robotic workflows.” -Senior Director or Revenue Cycle, Midwestern Hospital

As your organization tackles the growing burnout that’s crushing the healthcare industry today, ask yourself these questions: What could your hospital do with more time? How many employees could Olive help focus on more meaningful work? How would those changes impact employee satisfaction and staff turnover at your organization? What would the financial impact be to your bottom line?

View our recent case study to see how Olive transformed this hospital’s administrative operations, allowing their employees to focus on higher-value initiatives that boost morale, patient outcomes, and overall revenue recognition.