NURS 8100 Technology and Cost Containment

NURS 8100 Technology and Cost Containment

NURS 8100 Technology and Cost Containment

A significant challenge to containing health care costs is the price of the equipment and medications needed to diagnose and treat patients and the lack of adequate reimbursement. Bodenheimer and Grumbach (2020), speculate that “the price of prescription drugs in the United States is 50% higher than that in other countries” (p. 94). IN my world the charge for delivering a baby is around $7,500.00. Private insurance companies pay approximately 2/3 of the delivery fee compared to Medicaid covering on average about 20%. This is not sustainable if a hospital operates in a community with high Medicaid rates. Additionally, the quality of health care is directly tied to reimbursement.  A hospital that operates with a low-profit margin makes cuts in staffing, replaces needed equipment, and struggles to attract physicians and care providers that provide high-quality care.

One way that Bodenheimer and Grumbach (2020), describe technology being utilized to decrease costs is a broader use of robotic surgeries. Gall bladder surgery, specifically described in the reading from this week can be performed in less time if robotics is used, is less invasive for the patient which decreases the length of stay, and requires less payout to providers who perform the surgery related to the decrease in time.

It is hard to say if I agree or disagree with the policymakers on reducing health care costs. I would say that it depends

NURS 8100 Technology and Cost Containment
NURS 8100 Technology and Cost Containment

on how collaborative policymakers are with the individuals who provide healthcare. A few years ago Colorado tried to pass a bill  (www.coloradoindependent.com) that was well-intended in the effort to provide broader coverage for the public but wanted to introduce the idea that all hospitals would be reimbursed at Medicare and Medicaid rates to accomplish this. The governor was convinced that hospitals were price gouging and so in his mind reimbursing hospitals at a lower rate made sense. Fortunately, the bill lost momentum with the Covid-19 pandemic and has not resurfaced.

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The concept of patient-centered medical homes (PCMHs) according to Rosenthal et al. (2010), continues to be a popular idea. The notion of a PCMH is to provide care to patients in a more coordinated fashion to reduce inefficiencies.  One provider guides all of the care of the patients. Although specialists, subspecialties, and acute and long-term care may be needed, the overseeing provider organizes all of this.

References:

Bodenheimer, T., & Grumbach, K. (2020). Understanding health policy: A clinical approach. McGraw Hill.

The Colorado Independent. (March, 2020), Update: Colorado’s public/private healthcare option clears first hurdle. Retrieved at https://www.coloradoindependent.com/2020/03/12/colorado-public-option-healthcare/

Rosenthal, M., Beckman, H., Forrest, D., Huang, E., Landon, B., & Lewis, S. (2010). Will the patient-centered medical home improve efficiency and reduce costs for care? A measurement and research agenda. Medical Care Research & Review, 67(4), 476-484.

In the healthcare industry, nurses’ turnover is a significant challenge to contain health costs. It was ranked third of the top three industries with high turnover, with the nurses’ turnover becoming a rapidly growing human resource problem that affects the healthcare sector worldwide (Cohen, 2019). Its world rate is considered very high, ranging from 15 to 44%, resulting in a significant impact on a hospital’s profit margin, with the average cost of turnover for a nurse ranging from $37,700 to $58,400, and hospitals losing $5.2 million to $8.1 million annually (Lockhart, 2020).

According to the 2019 National Healthcare Retention & RN Staffing Report, it costs between $40,300 and $64,000 to replace one clinical nurse, with the average hospital losing $4.4 million to $6.9 million each year (Lockhart, 2020). The turnover rate for RNs continues to rise, 43 percent of new nurses working in hospitals leave their jobs within three years, and additionally, 33.5 percent resign after two years, and 17.5 percent work only one year (Lockhart, 2020). Nursing turnover is extremely costly for healthcare organizations, which struggle to keep experienced and novice nurses alike, but 18% percent of new nurses change jobs or even professions, within the first year after graduation, and an additional one-third leave within 2 years (Lockhart, 2020). Nationally, the nursing turnover rate averages 19.1% and rising, leaving a nursing vacancy rate of 8%, and the average period it takes to fill a nursing position is 85 days, with more than three months, for a specialized nursing position (Lockhart, 2020).

The hospital managers state that nurse turnover disrupts hospital service operations, staffing processes, managerial processes, hospital revenue, loss of experienced and trained nurses, nurse shortages, and an imbalanced composition of new and remaining nurses, which increases the costs for recruitment and training cost for new hires (Dewanto & Wardhani, 2018). The turnover negatively affects hospital services, revenue is disrupted, due to the decreased work productivity of the new nurses, increased expenses related to new hires’ recruitment, mentoring training to placement, and, because the new nurses require an orientation process, as their skills do not meet the expected standards (Dewanto & Wardhani, 2018). These staffing problems cause issues in setting schedules, necessitating increased overtime, low morale of existing nurses, the less-than-optimal service provided, because of communication, and, barriers between the senior and the new nurses (Dewanto & Wardhani, 2018). The services are heavily impacted, leaving the patients frustrated with frequent replacements, mediocre treatment by a less competent new nurse leading to the patient’s decreased trust, satisfaction, and increased complaints about nursing service (Dewanto & Wardhani, 2018).

The advancements in technology and their implementation can alleviate some of the turnovers by improving workflows and making patient care easier. Technology use can reduce medical care costs. reduce the burden on nurses, motivate more clinicians into the workforce to mitigate the shortage, and improve the transparency of medical records between healthcare organizations (Cohen, 2019). The development of innovative nursing practice models with increased computer technology, to be used for all documentation of patient care, and generation of the electronic medical records (EMRs) is an example (Moore, 2000). There are several other technologies which include including telehealth, artificial intelligence, texting, blockchain credentialing, mobile staffing apps staff augmentation, and artificial Intelligence being some of the tools, which make daily workflows easier for nurses and nurse practitioners amid a shortage of clinicians (Agbo et al., 2019). These tools can help to alleviate the shortage’s effects on nurses and NPs, by improving efficiencies in their daily workflows and how they provide care for patients. Many providers and patients were initially uncomfortable with telehealth, however, the pandemic not only increased adoption but also led to a rise in comfort levels, for those using the technology, allowing nurses and NPs to see more patients in a day (Rojahn, et al., 2016). Blockchain credentialing is an app that allows for a nurse’s credential data to be stored on multiple servers, rather than just a single server, allowing organizations to see entries in real-time, which creates a public electronic ledger, making it easier for healthcare organizations to look up a nurse’s credentials and speed up approvals (Agbo et al., 2019). The mobile staffing apps and staff augmentation, modulate the staffing based on patient volume and acuity, allowing nurses and NPs to see the hospital’s schedule, sign in, swap a shift, or pick up holidays (Mayer et al., 2019). It also allows healthcare organizations to supplement their support staff, through third-party staffing to ensure operations run smoothly, with the clinicians being to able to focus better on patient care and complete their day-to-day tasks efficiently (Mayer et al., 2019). Artificial Intelligence is often applied within healthcare to make sense of clinical data by identifying trends, that can lead to better patient outcomes, and can be used to assess fall risk, or detect tuberculosis in x-rays (Mayer et al., 2019).

I agree with policymakers that technology needs to be more introduced as mainstream in health care because healthcare policies and insights, need to be revolved around a multifaceted approach to address nurses’ shortage and turnover. One insight is the introduction of the electronic medical record (EMR) and other technological advances, which can also affect nurses staying in or leaving the organization (Haddad et al., 2022). Another insight is the electronic scheduling tool, which allows nurses to sign up for individual shifts they are qualified to cover, as well as trade shifts with other nurses with the same skill set when needed, this has the ability not only helps with work-life balance, flexibility but also makes scheduling easier for both nurses and management (Haddad et al., 2022). Social media on job recruitment platforms have become major sources of information for nurses looking for jobs as they provide an opportunity for the organization to communicate, introduce and explain the kind of environment they have, through the reviews provided by both workers and patients (Haddad et al., 2022).

References:

Agbo, C. C., Mahmoud, Q. H., & Eklund, J. M. (2019). Blockchain Technology in Healthcare: A Systematic Review. Healthcare (Basel, Switzerland)7(2), 56. https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare7020056

Cohen, J. K. (2019). Tech helping to alleviate nurse shortage, experience gaps. Modern Healthcare49(32), 14.

Dewanto, A., Wardhani, V. (2018). Nurse turnover and perceived causes and consequences: a preliminary study at private hospitals in Indonesia. BMC Nurs 17, 5. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12912-018-0317-8

Haddad, L. M., Annamaraju, P., &Toney-Butler, T. J. (2022). Nursing Shortage. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK493175/

Lockhart, Lisa. (2020). Strategies to reduce nursing turnover, Nursing Made Incredibly Easy: March/April Volume 18 – Issue 2 – p 56 Doi: 10.1097/01.NME.0000653196.16629.2e

Mayer, M. A., Rodríguez Blanco, O., & Torrejon, A. (2019). Use of Health Apps by Nurses for Professional Purposes: Web-Based Survey Study. JMIR MHealth and UHealth7(11), e15195. https://doi.org/10.2196/15195

Moore P. (2000). Perspectives. How can we help to alleviate the nursing shortage? ONS News15(5), 14.