Inflation. Record-high labor costs. Lower margins. Supply chain issues. Staff burnout. Rising expenses.
For U.S. hospitals and health systems, these issues and more have leaders under an immense amount of pressure to improve the efficiency of their staff and resources. More than half of hospitals were projected to end 2022 in the red, which means finding ways to do more with less is top of mind for everyone in 2023. And controlling the cost of digital care services will be no exception.
In this post, we’ll explore three ways you can implement a more efficient digital care strategy across your organization – one that reduces costs while still providing the resources needed to deliver quality care and improve patient outcomes.
For most healthcare organizations, the process of adopting telehealth and virtual care services over the past decade has been a slow, gradual one. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, it wasn’t uncommon for hospital and service line leaders to buy point solutions that addressed a single organizational challenge – rather than making a large, system-wide technology investment.
In the short term, this approach helps minimize risk and upfront investment. But over time, it results in a sea of different vendors for solutions including remote patient monitoring (RPM), chronic care management, telehealth or virtual visits, value-based initiatives, and hospital-at-home programs.
Each of these point solutions can deliver value on its own. But if you find yourself in this situation, you know that managing dozens of different vendors is a serious challenge. Not only does it increase the overall cost of services, but using multiple programs and applications is difficult for providers, staff, and patients to realistically manage.
To help cut back on the cost of digital care in your organization, consider consolidating the number of vendors you’re using by selecting a partner that can provide multiple services across a single ecosystem. For example, Veta Health offers a range of services including RPM, chronic condition management and embedded telehealth services such as video calls, audio calls, and asynchronous text chat. Using our Prosper Care platform, customers have been able to eliminate duplicative services from multiple vendors – all while improving the patient and provider experience.
In addition to saving on annual service fees and vendor contracts, consolidating your digital care vendors can help you:
- Reduce IT Vetting: For most healthcare organizations, internal vendor vetting and contracting is a time-intensive process. When a single vendor can cover multiple streams of work, you’ll free up time and resources for your overworked IT staff.
- Improve Operational Efficiency: When managing multiple vendors and systems, data silos are inevitable. Reducing the number of vendors you rely on can help ensure every system is interconnected and works together.
- Boost Patient Engagement. If your patients don't need to bounce between multiple apps, websites and programs, they’ll be more likely to engage in their own care journey.
Reduce Staff Workloads. In a tight labor market, burnout remains a top concern. Reducing the number of tools and systems you need staff and providers to use can help you avoid adding more work for your already overtaxed staff.
According to projections from the American Hospital Association (AHA), labor expenses for U.S. hospitals and health systems were estimated to rise by $86 billion between 2021 and 2022. With nationwide healthcare staffing shortages, it’s more difficult than ever to attract, retain and support your workforce. Which is why leveraging existing vendor partnerships can be a great way to help reduce the cost of telehealth in your organization.
As you evaluate vendors across digital care platforms, ask about the types of clinical services they can offer. Even if it comes at an additional fee, outsourcing a portion of your staffing for telehealth, virtual care, or care management services can generate significant savings over full-time or contracted labor positions.
At Veta Health, our RN-led care management team can serve as an extension of your staff by monitoring patients and proactively providing educational information and guidance. If a concerning change in vitals is observed, we send real-time notifications to your care team so they can intervene. These services can help you provide better care to patients, while reducing labor expenses.
Optimize Workflows and Processes
Another way to reduce the cost of digital care in your organization is by improving the efficiency of your current workflows and processes.
One of the advantages of creating a digital care strategy is the ability to create virtual processes. But all too often, organizations don’t take advantage of the ability to develop ideal digital workflows. Instead, they end up taking their existing manual workflows and copying them directly into a virtual system – inefficiencies and all.
The Future of Virtual Care Model Design Buy it or build it? This decision can shape a virtual care program’s adoption, and therefore its success.
We see this every day in our work with healthcare clients. Whether it’s patient intake processes or surveys, paper forms are transitioned to digital forms – but the process stays the same.
When you approach your telehealth, RPM, and virtual care solutions like this, you’re not taking full advantage of the cost- and time-savings you can generate from truly virtual workflows.
To find out how you can optimize your internal processes, you need a partner that understands how to create an ideal virtual workflow – and can work backwards to adapt your current processes. At Veta Health, we do this by first listening to the needs of each customer, then developing digital care pathways that remove friction for patients and providers alike.
This type of virtual-first approach not only helps our customers reduce the cost of telehealth. It also results in a better, more personalized patient experience.
Learn How You Can Reduce the Cost of Digital Care
Interested in learning more about how you can improve outcomes and reduce the cost of longitudinal care with Veta Health? Visit our contact page to get in touch with a member of our team or schedule a product demo.