An Industry in Flux: Five Quick Tips for Slashing Healthcare Costs

John Jones, for HealthLeaders Media, May 10, 2010

The mighty transition facing the healthcare industry can be intimidating, especially when healthcare organizations consider the potential for high expenses associated with changes to processes and workflow.

There are ways to mitigate these expenses and even reduce overall operational costs, with the added benefit of supporting staff through the changes and reducing the learning curve of new technology solutions.

One area that hospitals can tackle is document inefficiency. Document inefficiency continues to be an enormous cost driver in the healthcare industry, and the following five tips can help slash those costs and keep healthcare institutions productive:

1. Prepare for the implementation of electronic health records by partnering with an expert to better manage the flow of documents and the costs associated with printing, sharing and updating them. A managed print services strategy can reduce operational costs by as much as 30%.

2. Evaluate current workflow processes and identify ways to take costs out by removing non-value added steps and reducing errors. Methodologies like Lean Six Sigma can help organizations prepare for process changes by evaluating employee work habits and determining what the staff needs from a new solution to be as productive as possible.

3. Cut down on the expenses of paper-based files and automate document management with a networked multifunction printer (MFP). Digital archives of scanned documents can be routed directly to a destination (e.g. accounts payable, HR, etc.) from the MFP.

4. Scan and store paperwork in an enterprise content management solution to provide easy access to doctors and administrators, save money on storage fees and administrative costs, reduce insurance claims denials and improve billing processes.

5. Consider outsourcing to ease the burden of new technology on hospital staff. This helps ensure technology solutions—from healthcare IT to clinical workflow and patient accounting to revenue cycle operations—align with the overall organizational goals for improving patient care and clinical efficiency.

John Jones is the vice president for Healthcare Providers, Xerox Global Services. He can be contacted at
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