Operations Part 2: Are You Managing Healthcare Operations Efficiently?

Building a sustainable practice is a common goal held by healthcare owners and stakeholders. In the last blog, we discussed the policy, process, and procedure of healthcare operations. We shared why policy, process, and procedure are an integral part of your healthcare organization. In this blog, we will discuss managing healthcare operations efficiently. Specifically, we’ll share what to look for and how to manage the operation and its processes effectively.

What does managing healthcare operations efficiently look like?

A practice survives from profits whereas it expands from its efficiency. The efficiency of a healthcare organization lies not in one factor but many. Therefore, the proper and timely functioning of every component of a company makes it efficient. An efficient practice is one which implements its policies and procedures necessary to satisfy its patients, employees, and management.

5 Pillars in Managing Healthcare Operations

A working enterprise goes through five sets of functions, also termed operations, throughout its life. The following five operations, working in proper synchronization, makes the chances of managing efficiently much more successful in your business:

  1. Demand Forecast
  2. Sourcing and Procurement
  3. Creation of Output
  4. Delivery
  5. Managing People

The Role of Healthcare Operations Management

All five functions listed above are maintained by a formal structure of management. Accordingly, leaders that are managing efficiently are planning, organizing, directing and controlling the workforce assigned to them in order to realize the set goals.

2 challenges you may face in operations management

  1. Stringency: In a typical business scenario, the synchronization of all departments takes time because they are usually segregated in order to maximize efficiency and perform their own work. Therefore, the stringency of this hierarchy makes adaptations in the overall process and inter-departmental communication difficult.
  2. Long-term planning: Long-term plans and policies of an enterprise may fall through in the face of certain scenarios and as a result, impede on swift decision making.

Healthcare Operations Management to the rescue

Healthcare Operations Management administers business practices to create the highest level of efficiency possible within the organization and maximizes the profit of an organization. Furthermore, Healthcare Operations Management acts like a bridge, connecting the five functional pillars of the organization. It designs and controls the process of production or service delivery.

So, let’s take a look at some sample job functions operations managers will oversee as they pertain to the five pillars of operation:

  1. Demand Forecast
  • Conduct market surveys
  • Gather specific requirements from patients
  • Set service price, targets and service delivery
  1. Sourcing and Procurement
  • Negotiate price of materials and place orders (if necessary)
  • Manage inventory, strategic planning of usage and replenish
  1. Creation of Output
  • Plan service delivery accordingly
  • Manage budget in accordance with cost implications, ensure quality of product or service
  1. Delivery
  • Dispatch goods and services to patient in proper time
  1. Managing People
  • Employ and train your people
  • Plan and delegate work across departments
  • For special tasks, outsource to professionals

An extra edge

First keep in mind the policies and vision established by the practice. In doing so, Healthcare Operations Managers adopt tactical changes befitting the present internal and external scenarios. Therefore, they plan the use of firm resources by analyzing the effectiveness of performance metrics involving:

  • Price: purchase price, usage cost, maintenance cost, upgrade cost, disposal cost
  • Quality: specification and compliance
  • Time: production or service lead time, information lead time, punctuality
  • Flexibility: Production flexibility, program flexibility, operation flexibility
  • Stock availability and safety stock: indicators are in place to maintain efficient workflow
  • Ecological implications: biological and environmental impacts of the system

Healthcare Operations Management is the key to a planned and informed investment in the marketplace which is vital for the survival of a product line. In a service setting, it would focus on ensuring that workers are adequately trained, customer service locations are equipped and safe for employees and the public, and services are revised as dictated by patient input or competitive forces.