Ha 425 operational analysis and quality improvement

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 Keith Seefeld

If your health care organization is attempting to promote quality through the use of cost containment then every person that works for your organization must understand the purpose and method behind your strategy. For this discussion I will define cost containment as the strategy by which to obtain the most effective operating efficiency while at the same time performing at a specific high level standard for service and outcomes to your patients. (Smith et al, 1981) Your entire organization must understand that it is their job to perform the duties set forth with the highest level of effectiveness and integrity while also utilizing the least amount of resources.

How can we use this strategy to promote quality improvement? If we utilize less resources there could be a common sense argument that would say less resources equals less results. This sounds simple and if you leave the argument to the basics it may end up that way. By utilizing a strategy of teamwork and efficiency we can take less resources, less cost, and provide higher outcomes, better quality, to our patients. An example is the staffing that is needed for everyday healthcare needs. Does your healthcare organization need a doctor that makes $500,000 per year or could you get better results with a doctor that makes $350,000 per year and two nurse practitioners who each make $75,000 per year? The first option may get you the best results but at the highest commitment for the least amount of labor whereas the second option provides additional labor and possibly additional patients due to the workload being spread amongst more bodies.  The cost management of staff can sometimes be grossly mismanaged in healthcare. 

The second and final option for cost containment that I would suggest involves optimizing your financing sources while decreasing your waste. When you work in healthcare you can become reliant on certain brands of products. These products can sometimes be more costly to the organization due to the lack of bulk buying potential or the needed waste management because of environmental concerns. An audit of your organization with a cross reference to material that is either purchasable at a larger scale or can be disposed of in a more effective and cost efficient manner is needed to give a macro level of information on what to do next. The healthcare organization can look into how funding comes into the company as a cost containment strategy. There are many resources available to healthcare institutions to address whether billing can be done more effectively and efficiently or whether the grants and donations a facility receives can be maximized at a greater rate. A smart organization will often be looking into both billing and grant utilization to maximize profit but will need to do so with the least amount of staffing possible to reduce cost. 

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