The Critical Link Between Hospital Margins and Superior Wi-Fi Performance

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The Critical Link Between Hospital Margins and Superior Wi-Fi Performance

Reliable Wi-Fi can boost the bottom line

Hospital margins rely on numerous factors, and patient satisfaction is a huge one. It’s the heart of every facility’s reputation and as technology becomes even more omnipresent, reliable Wi-Fi is key to keeping patients happy. And as the explosive growth in connected devices continues, realizing their efficiency gains relies on a reliable connection. Superior wireless communication is a critical ally in the battle between operating costs and profits.

There are 5,534 registered hospitals in America. Large and small, for-profit and non-profit, they’re all facing the same issue: decreasing margins. It’s a pressure that has seen for-profit margins drop by 39% and non-profit margins by 34%. Those figures have cost hospitals $6.8 billion in lost operating income.

Low hospital margins are associated with inferior processes of care and worse readmission rates while the facilities who suffer from them are at greater risk of mergers, acquirement, or closure. Why is there such a strain on hospital revenue versus expenses – and how exactly can Wi-Fi help?

The issues affecting hospital margins

Nobody wants treatment to last longer than it needs to. Both patients and professionals want people home and healing ASAP. Improving your hospital’s patient throughput saves money in three ways: it lowers resource costs, decreases staff stress, and frees up beds for new patients to receive care.

Readmission rates are an expensive revolving door. Those occurring within 30 days of discharge cost Medicare around $17 billion and hospitals don’t get reimbursed. Worse, underperforming hospitals can face penalties. Effectively monitored Wi-Fi streamlines information exchange in a way that facilitates every stage of a patient’s stay and makes it more efficient. And with throughput solutions typically taking six months to a year to implement, the sooner wireless management is optimized, the better.

Optimal Wi-Fi allows patients and doctors to roam and remain reliably connected. From a customer service perspective, patient satisfaction suffers if they cannot use Wi-Fi to communicate with family or friends or to entertain themselves while waiting. Even when a patient is discharged, they can be remotely monitored from home to ensure ongoing care. This can be a boon or a burden for a hospital’s margins, depending on the reliability of their Wi-Fi.

Also, note that missed appointments cost caregivers $150 billion annually. An email or two ahead of time increases the odds of patients showing up – and something as simple as unreliable Wi-Fi decreases the chances of them getting the message.

Time is money and connectivity counts

Effective communication of data between staff is essential for maximum performance. Equally important is easing the time demands on caregivers. Monitoring equipment can take up a large part of a nurse’s day, and with the average patient being served by 3-6 connected devices, it’s wireless connectivity which will often decide the efficiency of nurses.

A recently mandated nurse-to-patient ratio in Massachusetts is symptomatic of a wider call for more nurses taking care of fewer patients. Thousands of new positions look set to be created to meet demand at 4-6% higher than current pay rates. This equates to an increase in hospital spending in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

If this trend signals a wider policy, then Wi-Fi becomes an even more vital part of a medical facility’s money-saving strategy. We’ve helped our clients increase wireless productivity in some very challenging situations, ensuring they’re not one of the 55% of hospitals globally that spend 500 expensive hours a year on Wi-Fi maintenance.

An hour of downtime may sound bad enough for operations and patient wellbeing. When you consider that those 60 minutes could add another $1 million to your expenses, steady Wi-Fi starts to look priceless.

Consistent Wi-Fi creates efficiency and satisfies patients

Every business measures data failure in terms of dollar damage and reputational risk. For a hospital, an unreliable network could be life or death. There’s no argument that hospital Wi-Fi must be as robust as possible now and in the very near future. Around 1.3 billion wireless devices will be added to networks in the next three years with the aim of improving patient care, saving lives, and reducing hospital costs.

7SIGNAL’s Sapphire Solutions Suite is the only quality of service wireless monitoring solution that meets the ISO 80001 standard to control risk in wireless medical IT networks. Hospitals are often wary of Wi-Fi set-ups due to their dimensions, design, and the sheer volume of electrical equipment. The 7Signal “Connected Hospital” is an environment that overcomes this challenge.

We provide constant performance visibility on your existing Wi-Fi which quickly alerts your IT team to the source of a problem; so quickly, that it can often be isolated before a help desk call is even made.

Automating your Wi-Fi performance management to identify issues in 30 seconds or less means happier patients, efficient care, and healthier margins. Let your physicians concentrate on patient outcomes and let the Wi-Fi performance experts worry about connectivity.

7SIGNAL® is a leader in enterprise Wireless Network Monitoring. The 7SIGNAL platform is a cloud-based Wireless Network Monitoring (WNM) solution that continuously troubleshoots the wireless network for performance issues – maximizing network uptime, device connectivity, and network ROI. The platform was designed for the world’s most innovative organizations, educational institutions, hospitals, and government agencies and is currently deployed at Booz Allen Hamilton, IBM, Kaiser Permanente, Walgreens, Microsoft, and many others. 7SIGNAL continuously monitors the connectivity of over 4 million global devices. Learn more at www.7signal.com.

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