Strategies to Support Financial Sustainability in Healthcare Sector
The Healthcare sector is one of the key strategic sectors in any country. The health of the population is indicative of how well organised and advanced any country is. Yet, many countries face several challenges related to healthcare due to the changing population behaviours and sedentary lifestyle trends and due to the expensive treatment and care especially in chronic diseases. Accordingly, many countries are challenged with the financial sustainability of their healthcare sectors. In this paper we present few strategies to counter the effect of healthcare budget burdens.
There are many strategies in place to support a strong, resilient, and financially stable healthcare sector in any country. Below are some of these strategic interventions:nvest in Medical Tourism. Medical tourism is important to any country as it provides tax money to the government stemming from healthcare services and others. This supports the central government in allocating more budget to healthcare services.
Optimize insurance premiums. Optimizing insurance premiums so that it is based on actuarial analysis. This will provide more pooled revenue and well-costed premiums.
Expanding insurance coverage. By expanding insurance coverage, more insured will be in the network, allowing for more premiums and a greater pool of revenue. This goes along with the concept of risk pooling in healthcare and contributes to the sustainability of the health system.
Control medicine costs. Medicine cost in any country needs to be optimized to manage the budget allocated to medicine. There are several ways to control medicine costs such as implementing treatment protocols to reduce oversubscription, establishing a rationalized drug list, improving the supply chain, and shifting to generic medicine instead of brand.
Patient traffic reengineering. Patient treatment costs are quite high in secondary care (Hospitals); accordingly shifting traffic to Primary Healthcare clinics helps in reducing overall treatment bill, as Primary healthcare helps in preventing further complications of the disease.
Control capital expenditures. Wise decisions and selection of capital expenditures project whether its hospital buildings, MRI equipment or others is key to managing the healthcare budget. Such capital project decisions should be well scrutinized to establish the need for the project.
E-health and digitization. Electronic health records and digitization of healthcare is key to reducing costs, increasing speed and efficiency, and improving quality. It is quite essential to have well-connected systems that provide a complete history of the patient in any medical facility to manage quality, health, and treatments.
Human Resource Efficiency. The quality and caliber of healthcare professionals are important to deliver good healthcare services to the population. Physicians and nurses need to be trained, accredited, and under a continuous learning program. In addition, their compensation should be also linked to performance to create a culture of high-quality healthcare performance.
Quality control and treatment protocols. Having standardized treatment protocols that are unified and applied helps in creating consistency, quality control, and cost management. Providers should deliver services that adhere to diagnostic and treatment protocols approved by professional societies and meet international best practice standards.
Reducing the impact of NCDs. Reducing the impact of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) requires an investment in educating the population on the importance of a healthy lifestyle and diet. In addition, Primary Healthcare facilities should be ready to diagnose, treat and support the population at the early stages of NCDs.
Improving Healthcare Governance. Governance in healthcare is key to managing different stakeholders. Governance in healthcare should tackle issues related to paying public providers based on a compensation-performance model, deciding the need to have a national insurance program, separating the roles of the provider and purchaser, and making sure there is good governance and regulation in the healthcare sector.