ROI Calculator: How Much Could Automation Save Your Agency?
In the healthcare field – especially those critical first hours after an emergency or incident – second and minutes count. EMTs, nurses, physicians, and firefighters are all working together to do their part to decipher and deliver the care needed for a patient, whether it is a simple and low-urgency encounter, or something extremely serious or perplexing. Unfortunately, many of today’s healthcare providers on the front lines face an unseen enemy: operational inefficiencies and silos of data that make doing their job even harder.
Oftentimes, these inefficiencies are legacy issues, left over from older systems that have been cobbled together to continue working for decades. Other times, communication issues simply arise from having to do hundreds of patient hand-offs a day between autonomous entities – such as the EMS agency and the emergency department. Finally, the human nature of care in emergency situations – like inadvertently omitting important information in the patient record or misplacing needed documents – can impact the time spent on any given patient, stretching already-long shifts even further.
The good news is that emerging software technology – specifically designed for these health care providers and with an understanding of exactly what they encounter on any given shift – is promising to deliver significant savings in time, operational expenses, and even physical materials. Building off today’s growing use of electronic patient care records (ePCRs), these new software tools not only helps digitize patient records but allow bidirectional data sharing between hospitals and EMS agencies to improve communication and operational efficiencies.
This means no more tracking down hard copy records filled out and passed out by hand at hand-off at the ED. It means easy-to-complete, progressive forms that alert the care professional to any missing fields, reducing the number of incomplete records. It means less time spent at the nurse’s station, filling out paperwork or tracking down missing information before you can clock out or get back to the bus. The efficiencies even reach down to accounting and billing, who no longer face stacks of paper records that must be painstakingly transcribed, stored, and corrected.
Equally important are tools that easily share back data between the hospital and the EMS agency. These metrics are easily sorted and crunched, making it easy to see gaps or successes, increases in cases, areas that need more resources. This proves invaluable when facing an audit, communicating needs for funding, or even just looking for ways to improve outcomes or patient satisfaction ratings. Allowing the hospital and EMS agency to easily share their metrics improves efficiency across the spectrum of care and builds stronger EMS-hospital networks.
That said, it remains that change can be difficult, time-consuming, and even a bit scary for businesses and team members. Not only do you need assurance that the effort put into instituting a new system will be worth it, but you often require hard numbers to get the buy-in from stakeholders. How can you estimate the time and money you could save by automating your system with these new software tools?
ESO recently developed and launched an online ROI Calculator, making it simple to form a realistic estimate of the efficiencies and savings you could see making the change. The free calculator walks you through a handful of steps to input your current expenses and time spent in more than two dozen variables, then augments your answers to deliver your potential savings in manhours, dollars, and even material costs.
The calculator begins by utilizing your current system usage, allowing you to input estimated total transports per year, number of patients per year (trauma, stroke, ACS, etc.), and your estimated contribution margins. Step two directs you to enter hours spent by a wide range of team members, from your registration clerk to your nursing staff to your liaisons, and numerous others in-between. Finally, you are asked to estimate minutes spent in various situations along the care continuum, such as EMS to ED admission time, time spent tracking down missing information or correcting records, and even time and resources spent printing out hard copy records. All these small variables add up the bottom line of savings that can be quite substantial.
The ROI Calculator is free and completely online, with an option of obtaining a graphic display of your results after completion. These estimates can be a useful tool in making your case for a new automated software tool, or simply helping you identify areas that offer the most potential savings for your agency or system. ESO for its part adds a unique perspective as it is exclusively aimed at working with first responders and hospitals and brings years of real-world experience to its technology.
As technology and data become more pervasive in everyday life, it makes sense that hospitals and EMTs should be able to benefit from new technologies to help them do their jobs more efficiently and effectively, to benefit their communities today and for years to come.