How technology can improve organizational efficiency

Regardless of whether an organization’s service area is local, regional or global in scope, it is important for all business leaders to constantly be vigilant in considering new ways to increase operational efficiency in today’s highly competitive marketplace.

Reducing costs is not the only way to improve efficiency. It is equally essential to examine how various aspects are functioning and look for new and innovative ways to improve or augment systems. Technology is evolving so rapidly today that frequently new solutions come to light that were not available five years or even a year ago.

Efficiency is important for any type of business, but is especially essential for not-for-profit organizations, which have more limited resources. For organizations operating in today’s volatile health care environment, the use of smart technology can dramatically improve patient experience while reducing costs and increasing staff efficiency and security.

Unique challenges
Companies or organizations such as ours, which operate from multiple sites and have mobile workforces, have unique communications and logistical challenges.

Hospice of the Western Reserve’s clinical care teams are on the road delivering care 24/7 across an 11-county area. Our clinicians need to be available to visit patients throughout the evening and night. They also need to be able to respond to scheduling changes and admit new patients at a moment’s notice when needed.

The focus is on delivering an optimal care experience for patients and families. The digitization and automation of these processes is playing a key role in allowing us and other companies in the same space the ability to streamline workflows and improve communications.

The benefits of automation
Our information services team developed the Intelligent Management of Patient and Referral Experience Software System (IMPRESS) package that allows clinical teams to respond in real time to patient referrals in private residences, hospitals, assisted living communities and nursing facilities.

The new automated system reduces the number of staff text messages, emails and phone calls by half, freeing up more time for team members to spend with their patients. Check-ins and status updates are quick and easy.

These tools also make it easier to protect the safety of our staff by knowing where they are. This allows an organization to provide help if someone is stuck in a snowbank, has a flat tire or needs to reschedule their next visit when the current visit is running longer than anticipated.

Any business or organization can benefit by thoroughly examining its processes and taking a fresh look at new technological solutions. By identifying and automating manual, time-consuming and costly processes and replacing them with automated processes that work faster, reduce redundancies and save on overall operating costs, everyone benefits — the organization, its employees and most importantly, its customers.

William E. Finn is president and CEO at Hospice of the Western Reserve