Small Size as an Advantage for Rural Hospitals: Achieve Scale at the Organization Level Not at the Functional Department


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This article is part of the Dexur's Rural Health Newsletter, which is focused on Rural Healthcare’s operations, technology, quality, safety, risk, compliance and learning topics. Please email DexurRuralHealth@dexur4.com to join this newsletter and receive updates (not more than once per week)

Rural hospitals, with their smaller size, often face the challenge of limited budgets and resources compared to larger healthcare institutions. Large organizations typically have the luxury to allocate distinct technology and application budgets across various functional departments like Quality, Compliance & Risk. Each department independently evaluates and selects applications tailored to its unique needs, an approach that often leads to additional spending on system integration to ensure cross-departmental compatibility.

In contrast, smaller rural hospitals face a different economic reality—one where the scale of each functional department does not justify a separate technology budget. This limitation, however, can be reframed as a strategic advantage when approached correctly. For rural hospitals, the consolidation of applications at the organization level, rather than at the departmental level, can yield significant benefits in terms of cost, efficiency, and unity.

A unified application system across the organization, such as Dexur's Unified Quality, Safety, and Incident platform, can meet the needs of different departments while harnessing economies of scale that are usually unattainable for smaller entities. By consolidating their technological needs into one integrated system, rural hospitals can streamline operations, eliminate redundant processes, and reduce the need for costly system integrations.

The advantages of such unified systems are manifold. First, they promote a cohesive operational environment where data and insights can flow seamlessly between departments, enhancing the decision-making process. This holistic view ensures that the quality of patient care is consistently monitored and improved upon, as all relevant data is centralized and easily accessible.

Second, training costs are significantly reduced when staff need to learn only one system rather than several. This simplifies the onboarding process for new employees and enhances the usability of the system for existing staff, encouraging greater engagement and proper use of the technology.

Third, a unified system better positions rural hospitals to comply with regulatory requirements, as it provides a comprehensive framework for managing risk and ensuring compliance across all departments. By integrating quality and incident reporting into the system, hospitals can quickly adapt to new regulations and best practices, making compliance an ongoing process rather than a reactive scramble.

Furthermore, Dexur's platform, by serving the collective needs of the organization, enables rural hospitals to make data-driven decisions that can lead to cost savings and operational efficiencies. The insights garnered from a unified platform can pinpoint areas for improvement, guide resource allocation, and improve patient outcomes through integrated quality and safety measures.

In embracing a unified technology approach, rural hospitals can achieve the scale at the organizational level, allowing them to negotiate better terms with vendors, reduce overhead costs, and operate more efficiently. This strategic approach to technology investment reflects a shrewd understanding of their unique position in the healthcare marketplace, turning potential weaknesses into compelling strengths.