Healthcare News & Insights

Reduce waste in your facility: Precision medicine & other tactics

No matter how hard you try to eliminate it, waste is an almost inevitable part of running a hospital. But one way to continue reducing waste and ineffective treatments is by using precision medicine. 

Precision medicine has generally been used to improve care and tailor treatments, but it can have other added benefits, like cost savings and positive environmental impacts.

A new study from Northwestern Medicine looked at genetic profiling to determine which drugs would work best for patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Although the study itself was specific to that disease, the positive implications beyond arthritis are widespread.

Trial and error

Currently, when treating chronic diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, providers use a “trial-and-error” method to test out possible drugs that could alleviate symptoms, according to Healthline.

If and when those treatments don’t work, patients and providers become discouraged – and the facility loses the money it spent on them.

Precision treatments

With the advent of precision medicine for chronic conditions, however, patients could be treated faster and more effectively, and money could be saved on ineffective treatments.

As Healthcare Finance News says, $2.5 billion is spent per year on ineffective therapies and treatments. Not only would precision medicine save some of that money, but patients would also be receiving better care and feeling less negative about their conditions.

Precision medicine isn’t at the forefront of everyone’s minds yet, since it’s still an emerging form of treatment. But, in the meantime, there are other ways your hospital can reduce waste, such as:

  • properly managing medical devices and supplies to ensure every supply item is accounted for and being used ASAP, so you’re not losing money throwing out extra bandages or syringes
  • providing incentives for departments or teams that are able to safely cut costs
  • looking into generic medications and supplies to see if they’ll work for your hospital, and
  • tracking medication ordering and expiration dates to make sure you’re not ordering excess medications that’ll just be thrown out in a few weeks – especially considering the high cost of prescription drugs.

Encouraging staff members to be mindful of the supplies they use and how they use them can also help cut down on mismanaged resources. Many employees probably just aren’t aware of how much they’re wasting, and emphasizing the importance of conservation is a good way to get workers to break those habits.

As precision medicine becomes more common, hospitals that are already taking these steps to reduce waste will be even better positioned to save money when adopting this style of treatment.

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