Did you know nearly 90% of medical professionals now use mobile devices as part of their daily patient care routines? That's just the beginning. From digital technology to brand new medical equipment, technology in the healthcare industry advances practically around the clock. If you are responsible for creating the financial plan for a medical treatment center, you could find yourself feeling overwhelmed at first. Knowing where to focus your attention first and how to determine what your facility needs is essential for success.
Focus on the Patient First
Just like care strategy, financial planning for a healthcare facility needs to focus on the patients first. This means budgeting for technology that benefits them before any that only benefits the staff. You can further narrow your financial planning for the patient depending on which department is the busiest or had the most recently updated equipment. Remember, excellent care isn't just about the patients. Even if the focus seems to be only on them at first, consider the other outcomes as well. Updated technology for patients increases their satisfaction, improves overall care and cuts down on return visits, and improves staff morale. The result is more time spent seeing new patients, a lower staff turnover rate, and money saved by not repeatedly treating patients for the same ailments in many cases. One of the most important ways you can put patient care first in your budget is to ensure the facility is implementing digital services. An increasing number of practices, hospitals, and healthcare systems are using online services that allow patients to have virtual appointments, refill medications, access medical records, and more. Digital technology has proven effective and helpful for patients and doctors alike.
Consider New vs. Replacement Technology
Many healthcare facilities lump their new technology in with replacement technology in their budget, but some experts believe this is detrimental to healthcare financing. Many finance professionals recommend splitting the funding into two separate categories instead. Replacement technology should be at the forefront. This financial category focuses on ensuring the services your healthcare facility offers remain operational and continue to provide high-quality care. Without updates to your existing technology, you run the risk of lowering the quality of patient care. Funding for new technology is important as well, but can offer the benefit of adding new technology or even a new line of services to the facility. Keep in mind that new technology will eventually move to the replacement category, of course. Although it won't happen as quickly, eventually, it will need to be updated.
Know the Policies and Procedures
Even the best healthcare technology budget will mean nothing if you haven't followed the proper policies and procedures to complete it. When you want to offer the best care for patients and create the best work environment for medical staff, rushing the budget and skipping the red tape could be tempting. In the long run, though, doing so just leaves you falling behind. Ensure you follow the full process of taking your budget ideas to a review board, providing the reports on results, conducting any clinical reviews required, and so on. Remember, too, that a strong budget will be created by an entire team. Together, you can decide which technologies are necessary and which can go on a wish list. Following the proper procedures may leave you with enough money to fulfill items from both lists.
Look at the Big Picture
Like any budget for any industry, financial planning for a medical facility must focus on the big picture. Remember, technology is changing daily. Something that just hit the market in the last few months is likely to go through several changes in the next few years. This doesn't necessarily mean you shouldn't purchase new technology when it becomes available, but it does mean you need to factor in updating the machines as needed over the next few years. Of course, the big picture will have small details as well. As much as your healthcare budget must focus on the patient, the technology behind the scenes is also important. What are the facility's goals? Consider billing software, employee training, cybersecurity, and more.
Planning the budget for a hospital, private practice, or any other type of medical facility requires a knowledge of both the healthcare and finance industries. The best planning team will include experts from both.