It is necessary to state that the term “waste” in the healthcare system has a specific meaning. Waste stands for several factors in the system of healthcare institutions that affect its working mechanisms. They include transportation problems, excessive waiting periods, lack of human potential, etc. If to divide waste into categories, it is possible to point out that failure of care coordination, pricing failure, and administrative complexity seems to be the most important. This research represents so-called “waste eliminators” that help healthcare centers to reduce costs and increase their value.
First, waste that comes when government, accreditation agencies, payers, and others create inefficient or misguided rules is connected with administrative complexity. In this case, streamlining administrative personnel and processes is worth mentioning as it seems to be the solution to the problem. This “waste eliminator” includes such components as a delegation of tasks, using modern technologies, and allocating exact time for every task. Spreading different types of objectives among specialists will boost the productivity of staff members and ensure that time-consuming tasks will be completed before the deadline. It is also important to speak about the usage of modern technologies as a method to reduce waste. To begin with, modern breakthroughs create space for outsourcing and delegating some kinds of tasks that can be done by professionals. For example, financial management of the center can become the charge of people who are connected with the sphere of finances. In this case, the cost-effective approach will be implemented and the medical center’s staff can concentrate on its main tasks (Sisko, 2019). Speaking of allocating time for each task, it is crucial to state that this method can increase the completion productivity and increase the value of both resources usage and labor of employees. All these techniques should be provided at the national level to eliminate the administrative complexity of healthcare centers all over the country and help them to reduce costs.
Second, pricing failure is worth mentioning. It is the type of waste that comes as prices migrate far from those expected in well-functioning markets, that is, the actual costs of production plus a fair profit. For example, because of the absence of effective transparency and competitive markets, US prices for diagnostic procedures such as MRI and CT scans are several times more than identical procedures in other countries (McWilliams, 2018). To remedy problems connected with this area, it is important to implement the following strategies: negotiations on drug prices cost transparency initiatives, and efforts to standardize services costs. Medicines’ pricing rates should be discussed at least at the regional level because some states find it difficult to ship components without extra expenses. Regional negotiations must be provided to stabilize the system and allow patients to use services without going to other parts of the country. Then, cost transparency is worth mentioning. The medical sphere suffers corruption all over the world. The quality of services provided is also worse because of the lack of transparency in finances. It is necessary to create special regional organs that will administer a modest flow of money funding through healthcare centers. Finally, service costs also have to be standardized. People sometimes have to travel from one region to another to find out which center has the cheaper service. Several negotiations and initiatives should be set up and they can be combined with negotiations on drug prices.
Third, the failure of core coordination also seems to be a crucial point. This segment represents the type of waste that comes when patients fall through the slats in fragmented care. The results are complications, hospital readmissions, declines in functional status, and increased dependency, especially for the chronically ill, for whom care coordination is essential for health and function. Possible solutions that can be provided are initiatives on reducing the number of admissions, for example, the urgent care initiative or retail clinics, several events for those patients who regularly attend healthcare centers, and an increase in management level. First, speaking of admission reduction initiatives, urgent care services or retail clinic systems should be integrated locally under the control of fundamental centers. It can create comfort for patients so they do not have to stand in large queues waiting for treatment to receive. It will help to decrease the level of the excessive waiting period and earn credibility among clients (Shrank, 2019). Then, various events and discount sessions for permanent patients. This initiative should also be provided locally under the governance of those centers that are ready to suffer some expenses to implement such a strategy. Moreover, an effective care management strategy requires the implementation of methods and techniques that look technologically modern. For example, online consultations can be provided for patients to determine the disease’s seriousness level. If the case is not serious and no further medical intervention is needed, online communication and the medical conclusion are enough so medically complex patients have more time to be examined in a real-life mode. This technique should also be tried at the local level in those clinics and centers that have enough budget to sponsor those initiatives.
To crown it all, those certain waste eliminators that were mentioned above can help the healthcare system to develop and thrive. It is necessary to separate all the initiatives into three levels to reasonably implement new strategies with a small percentage of risks.
McWilliams, J. (2018). Medicare spending after 3 years of the medicare shared savings program. N Engl J Med, 379(12), 1139-1149.
Shrank, W. (2019). Waste in the US health care system: estimated costs and potential for savings. National Library of Medicine, 322(15), 1501-1509.
Sisko, A. (2019). National health expenditure projections: economic and demographic trends drive spending and enrollment growth. Health Aff, 38(3), 491-501.