What Makes a Hospital Efficient?

Modern hospitals are a vital part of everyday life. Local populations require their services at key stages throughout life, such as giving birth in a safe environment with expert staff on hand to assist. A range of routine procedures and more complex operations are carried out in a healthcare setting along with emergency care facilities to deal with patients who have experienced serious or even life-threatening accidents or injuries. It is estimated that the average male will have a total lifetime expenditure on healthcare of $268,700, while the average female will be approximately a third higher at $361,200

Healthcare costs are an integral part of modern living, and receiving the best possible healthcare throughout life is of paramount importance for longevity. Hospitals are, therefore, key institutions of the modern world. This article explores three key ways in which hospitals seek to function in a highly efficient manner so that they can deal with large volumes of patients whilst providing a uniformly high standard of care.

Efficient supply chains

Every well-run hospital relies on an efficient supply chain to ensure that key pieces of medical equipment and medical supplies are available as and when required. A large hospital will use a high volume of everyday disposable items such as surgical gloves, safety cannulas and gauze. In addition, the hospital will need a suitable volume of medical devices for use in the different departments. Pulse oximeters, oxygen delivery systems and IV drips are used on a regular basis in multiple departments and hospital wards. More sophisticated equipment, such as MRI scanners, are likely to be present in larger hospitals to enable a thorough patient diagnosis to take place. 

All hospitals require supply chains that can rapidly deliver replacement supplies and medical equipment so that the hospital continues to have adequate access to these products. Timely and efficient supply chains therefore ensure that a hospital can offer constant access to a wide range of services and treatments to patients without any delays due to shortages of supplies or equipment. 

A culture of continuous learning

A key facet of every efficient and well-run hospital is the adoption of a culture of continuous learning. This can include having a comprehensive set of feedback loops to accurately assess the level of patient satisfaction and gain information from patients’ experiences. An efficient hospital must listen to the views and complaints from its patients whilst acting on the information provided. When avenues for improvement are identified, they must be acted on so that an improved level of care can be offered and the hospital continues to improve the services it offers and the efficiency of how these are undertaken.

Access to the latest healthcare technology

The pace of technological improvement is rapid, and this is especially true in the healthcare industry. An efficient hospital is often characterised by the fact that it has access to the latest medical equipment and devices. Having access to the latest healthcare technology ensures that treatments and procedures can be carried out under the best possible circumstances by having access to the latest technology. In recent decades, complex technology such as MRI scanners has led to the rapid and efficient diagnosis of a patient. Such technology is non-invasive and can give a highly accurate picture of the human body, which allows rapid assessment and treatment plans to be created to best manage the patient. 


Dr. David K Simson
The author, Dr. David K Simson is a trained radiation oncologist specializing in advanced radiation techniques such as intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT), image-guided radiotherapy (IGRT), volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT) / Rapid Arc, stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT), stereotactic radiotherapy (SRT), stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS). He is also experienced in interstitial, intracavitary, and intraluminal brachytherapy.