How to Reduce Costs While Improving Patient Satisfaction, Safety

As healthcare organizations look to cut costs while increasing patient safety and satisfaction, the focus is all landing on how to make the employee happy.

With tight budgets and increased workloads becoming the norm for the healthcare industry, cutting costs are imperative. The results of a new report from HealthcareSource and the American Society for Healthcare Human Resources Adminsitration found how professionals are looking to not only reduce costs, but also improve patient satisfaction and safety.

One of the ways organizations are looking to cut costs is by improving employee retention, according to 69% of respondents. Plus three-quarters of respondents are looking to make HR processes more efficient in the belief that spending more time and money upfront to hire the right candidate can save money in the long run.

"Turnover is costly for organizations," Frederick Morgeson, PhD, scientific advisor for HealthcareSource, said during the webinar. “When a person leaves, it costs the organization one to two times an employee's first year's salary. One of the reasons retention is such a chronic problem in healthcare is because the work can be highly stressful and skills utilized are often easily transferred from one organization to another. It's beneficial to use behavioral-based assessments during the hiring process because this can help you identify and select those who are more likely to stay.”

Improving employee retention is important since 79% of respondents named employee satisfaction the top priority for improving patient satisfaction. Another top priority is improving organizational culture.

"Senior leaders must make accountability and service excellence a strategic priority," Morgeson said. “Implementing goals focused on these elements can help, particularly if they are supported and reinforced from the top of the organization. Without these things, organizations will have a hard time changing their culture. “

Improved employee satisfaction is also one of the top ways organizations plan to improve patient safety, according to 59% of respondents. Other top considerations include focusing on employee education and development (69%) and hire for cultural fit (54%).

Just 27% of respondents said decreasing hospital-acquired infections and readmission rates as a current initiative to improve patient safety.

"People go into healthcare careers because they want to make things better — that's what drives employee engagement," Donna Wright, MS, RN, consultant with Creative Health Care Management, said during the webinar. “The key is to ensure employee education stays focused on the outcome, not just the process.”