Why is it Important to Actively Reduce Healthcare Costs?
When you take into account facilities, wages, supplies and administrative costs, hospital expenditure is significant in any healthcare system, which can put a strain on services as they try to manage their ever-shrinking budget. In some countries this can have a negative effect on patient care and the level of service provided.
Health-related quality of life (HRQOL) is a multi-dimensional concept that considers a number of aspects such as physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing and social functioning. It goes beyond direct measures of population health, life expectancy, and causes of death, and focuses on the impact health status has on quality of life. Therefore, improving healthcare as a whole is essential.
Striking a balance between improved patient care and budget cuts is extremely difficult. The NHS England budget fell from £148 billion in 2021 to £139 billion in 2022 , meaning budgets will have to be stretched to achieve the same level of care.
The United States spends nearly $4 trillion on healthcare, making it the most expensive system in the world. Over the past decade, the public health workforce in the US has shrunk by approximately 56,000 positions primarily due to funding issues. Similar trends are happening across the globe, highlighting the need for healthcare systems to find innovative means to reduce cost whilst maintaining quality of care.
How Can We Reduce Hospital Costs?
Innovative solutions should be adopted to build a ‘cost aware’ culture within hospitals. Often these solutions provide the same or better quality of care, but are more cost effective.
TriMedika is one company that has been helping to reduce costs in over 1,500 hospitals across the globe. Through the introduction of innovative technology in the form of a medical grade non-contact thermometer, TriMedika are revolutionising temperature measurement.
With a 900-bed hospital using approximately 2-3 million thermometer probe covers per year, every year, this recurring consumables cost is significant. A study at a UK hospital showed just 4 wards spent close to £14,000 on consumables across 2 years. The disposal of this contaminated plastic waste is also a monetary cost to hospitals.
Plastic consumables account for 97% of hospital thermometer budgets in the NHS, so eliminating this cost reduces budget constraints, without compromising on quality as TRITEMP™ is a medically graded, CE marked thermometer manufactured by an ISO13485 accredited company in TriMedika.
Many hospitals don’t realise the hidden costs associated with traditional contact thermometers and the significant impact that this can have on budgets. Internal research carried out by TriMedika shows that up to 10 contact thermometers are being disposed of in hospitals due to breakages every week, this equates to 520 devices per year. Some manufacturers report breakage and defective rates of up to 70%.
Consequently, hospitals may unnecessarily be replacing multiple devices when there is a more efficient alternative.
TRITEMP™ is a non-invasive device which is advantageous for patients or situations where contact would be difficult or disruptive. These hospital grade thermometers also eliminate the need for millions of unnecessary contact points with patients, which is essential at any time, but especially during a pandemic. TRITEMP™ is easy to use and provides a quick and accurate reading which increases efficiencies among healthcare staff.
The main ways that TRITEMP™ allows hospitals to save money are:
• Eliminates the need for hospitals to purchase single use plastic probe covers to be changed between temperature measurements. TRITEMP™ is non-contact so no probe covers are required.
• Eliminates the costs associated with disposing of plastic probe covers, as these are classified as contaminated medical waste. Typically, these would be incinerated as part of the hospital’s infection control policy
• Reduces the amount of time to take an accurate temperature reading, unlocking the full potential of staff and specialists and giving them back time to do what they do best – care. Improving productivity by 5 minutes per shift could save the NHS £280m.