What is the Cost of “Good Enough”?
Have you ever considered where you may be accepting the status quo with your current practices? Are there areas in your organization you are challenged by third parties to review, but a lack of time or knowledge leads you to say, “We think we are doing a good job,” or “What we are doing is ‘good enough’”?
How do you know if “good enough” is truly “good enough”?
We understand. We challenge our prospective clients to challenge the status quo of their self-pay collections. Because self-pay recovery is easy to disregard because it represents a small portion of a hospital’s overall receivables, but we also know that when recovery models are optimized significant gains can be achieved with very little effort required on behalf of the department leaders. Where might you be missing low-hanging fruit in your organization because you simply aren’t looking for it?
It is easy to find reasons to avoid change, but a business leader must consider the cost of not prioritizing a review of “good enough” practices in their organization. Here are four common reasons leaders justify accepting the status quo and why you should consider doing the opposite:
1. You are skeptical of vendors.
As a healthcare executive, your attention is highly coveted by salespeople wanting “just” a moment of your time. You are likely called on by vendors daily who want to sell you their products or services. Chances are you have been disappointed by some of them. This may lead you to shy away from opportunities that could significantly improve your operations, improve your profitability, and minimize your losses, While there are plenty of reasons to be skeptical, vendors can be a great resource for innovation and newest best practices.
Engaging with an unfamiliar vendor can be unsettling but there are strategies you can take to lessen your risk and not miss out on opportunities that could stem from the relationship. The best way a vendor can earn your trust is by assuming much of the risk associated with the exploration of their solution. If a vendor is truly a subject matter expert, they know what questions to ask to determine if you stand to benefit from their product or service. They help you identify pains you might not even know are hurting you. They have stories to tell of your peers who have found success with their solutions and they are willing to share those stories and references with you.
When a vendor is willing to perform the up-front work required to review your processes, that vendor shows they are vested in your success. You lose little by allowing the engagement. If they report back to you following their evaluation that they have nothing to sell you, you get the benefit of knowing that “good enough” is truly “good enough.” If instead, you receive recommendations for improvement, you are a step ahead of where you were before the engagement. You can calculate what you are losing by doing nothing, and make a decision on whether you can accept that loss.
2. You assume purchasing a new product or service is going to be complicated and time-consuming.
Healthcare solutions are complicated. EHR, HIS, RIS, PACS, DMS….we have all had experience with one or more of these systems. (They are so complicated we don’t even call them by their full names!) Solutions like these take time to implement, they take time to learn and often much time passes before we see the benefits promised by their developers.
Don’t make the mistake of assuming all solutions that improve the performance of your healthcare organization are complicated or that they require significant effort on your time to implement. Ask your vendor what their implementation process looks like. You may find that the burden of success is placed entirely on the vendor leaving you with little to lose but much to gain.
3. You think your current solution is providing maximum returns.
Often you may find yourself saying, “I have a vendor that handles that. They are doing a good job so why would I change?” They may be doing a good job, but are they doing the best job? Do you think they’d tell you, “we could have recovered 5% for you last year, but 4% was pretty good”? Of course, not. The only way to know is to review their performance and compare the benefits of what you gain from their performance to the price you pay them. When approached by a competing vendor, challenge them. Ask them to compare their solution to the results you are currently getting from your existing vendor. If you are reviewing a solution or service that involves an annual contract, performing a review like this 60 – 90 days prior to the renewal of that contract provides you with an opportunity to know you are maximizing your results.
4. You and your staff are overwhelmed.
The final reason you may neglect to challenge your status quo is quite simply because you and your staff are overwhelmed. You don’t know what you don’t know and you don’t have time to research those things. The idea of doing “one more thing” is stressful and so you resign yourself to remaining still. While it may sound counter-intuitive, this is exactly the time to seek assistance. If you purchase a solution that makes you more efficient, how might that help you one year from today? If you increased your self-pay recovery by 20%, how might that positively impact your department by the end of this fiscal year?
In conclusion, we encourage you to challenge your acceptance of your status quo. Ask yourself these questions:
- What is the cost to my company if I do not make a change?
- What changes are anticipated in the healthcare industry that might make me incur losses I am currently unprepared for?
- What are the estimated benefits of this change, and how do those benefits align with my professional and departmental goals? What would be the return on those advances?
Answering these questions will help you to calculate the cost of accepting “good enough” as “good enough” in your organization.