Relieving the Pressure of Cost Reduction Expectations

Hospitalists in the U.S. feel the pressure. Most mentions of healthcare in the media seem to focus on the cost of care and the unsustainable path the country appears to be taking. The U.S. spent about $3.8T on health in 2017. About 30% of that total is covered by Medicare and Medicaid — and about one-third of that amount goes to hospital-based services.

The numbers are staggering and politicians, analysts and healthcare executives all talk about the need to reduce costs without cutting corners on quality. The healthcare providers who are feeling this pressure to spend less yet do more are hospitalists.

There are approximately 60,000 hospitalists and intensivists in the U.S. — which is an amazing number considering that the hospitalist profession only received its name in 1996. Some statistics show it’s the fastest growing occupation in healthcare.

Because hospitalists spend much of their time face-to-face with patients, they are the ones most challenged with the industry goals regarding the Quadruple Aim: How can you help improve outcomes, save costs, improve patient experience while improving care for the providers as well? They look for ways to fundamentally change the standard of care by providing more information and decisions at the point of care rather than just focusing on incremental efficiencies in their current processes. The key to this is leveraging digital and mobile tools that will allow hospitalists to redesign processes that are no longer working or lack the information they need to provide better care. Using personal or portable digital devices at the point of care will allow for the integration of analytics and other advancements that will reduce costs – while improving the overall experience.

A recent studyindicates that two-thirds (66 percent) of physicians in the U.S. expect digital health technology will transform many labor-intensive care processes and result in significant cost reductions. About the same number of physicians (64%) believe digital technologies will not only improve the patient experience, but also help with burnout. By automating time consuming and laborious tasks, digital technology will help free clinicians to spend more time doing what they love — working face-to-face with patients.

Of course, not all digital technologies will be suitable for point of care assessments. But the ones most likely to succeed to require minimal training for clinicians. They will also leverage or integrate easily with existing digital ecosystems in the hospitals. And they will be flexible, scalable and cost-effective.

These design tenets are driving the development work being conducted here at Vave. We’re excited to see how our innovations can help clinicians and patients alike.