Top 3 Roadblocks to Tracking Cost Savings in Your Organization

As part of Strata Decision Technology’s Virtual Summit online webinar series, “Let’s Get Tracking – A Working Session on How to Track Your Savings Initiatives” provided attendees with the opportunity to learn how other clients in the Strata network have best leveraged a Continuous Improvement tool to track their cost savings opportunities.

In the following recap, you’ll learn top problems healthcare leaders face when tracking their cost savings using standard methods—and how automation of the process can help them to track all initiatives across the organization.

When polled, 53% of webinar attendees who were or are currently engaged with a consulting firm to produce savings opportunities say that once the consultants leave, they begin tracking projects manually in Excel. Another 27% admitted that their organization’s tracking stopped once the consulting engagement ended.

Only 20% said they automated their tracking with costing data.

With StrataJazz® Continuous Improvement (CI), organizations can self-service their tracking to provide executive leadership with reports that aggregate the initiatives across the organization. In the typical healthcare organization, projects to find cost savings might be aligned with a central effort to save, but they aren’t centrally tracked. Initiatives, for example, related to clinical quality, value analysis, and payroll are being tracked, but healthcare organizations aren’t validating the savings or aggregating the collective savings impact from all efforts in the system or hospital.

Efforts not typically considered for savings impact (like quality initiatives) aren’t being factored into the organization’s equation, either. With the CI tool, organizations can create an initiative, set a goal, and carry it through, assigning project owners, clinical owners, and executive sponsors to help move the project forward and boost accountability. Using CI, leaders can track savings using their validated financial sources of truth.

 

But for organizations still tracking their projects manually, what are the top obstacles they must confront to enable cross-organizational tracking?

1. Inconsistent Definitions

Healthcare providers often need to exclude or view specific patients or encounters separately based on certain patient factors. Leaders expect an accurate depiction of an opportunity, based on their definitions – but inconsistent definitions can result in distrust in the data, especially within clinical areas or when dealing with physicians. Organizations can leverage their own user-defined case types (i.e. patient populations) within CI to analyze outpatients or change the way inpatients are analyzed. These don’t need to remain limited to code-based changes; any patient encounter or billing field can be utilized.

2. Inflexible Parameters for Harm Events

Leaders at Yale New Haven Health System created Quality Variation Indicators™ (QVI) methodology to help hospitals identify potentially preventable adverse events occurring in inpatient encounters. QVIs allow hospitals to measure the impact of harm events on both cost and margins, reviewing clinical and financial outcomes data together to better understand the financial impact of harm to invest in improvements. Health systems may want to leverage their own quality definitions before introducing the concept of QVIs within their organization. With CI, harm event definitions can be cutomized using any patient encounter or billing field within Strata. Specific patient encounter records can also be leveraged to create custom definitions.

3. Incompatible Initiatives

As mentioned above, your organization may be working on initiatives meant to reduce cost that don’t fit perfectly within the confines of utilization variation, quality variation, or staffing-to-demand. When your organization’s initiatives don’t fit into these categories, it can be difficult to track certain projects around specific charge codes or payroll reductions. In that case, staff need to be able to create user-defined charge code and payroll opportunities. This flexibility allows you to track initiatives regardless of whether they fit into traditional cost initiatives that are automated by CI.

Do these problems resonate? Find out how Strata can help your organization leverage a continuous improvement tool to automatically and centrally track all cost savings projects across your organization.

Schedule a conversation with a member of our team using this link.

August 12, 2019
Written by Dhara Patel, Manager, Client Services