NHS Trusts Must Make Bigger Savings

Foundation trusts regulator Monitor has warned hospitals that they will need to make up to 75 per cent greater efficiency savings than originally planned due to higher inflation and tougher financial penalties incurred for incidents such as emergency re-admissions following surgery.

NHS chief executive Sir David Nicholson had previously told hospitals that they needed to find 4 per cent savings each year for the next five years in order to maintain services, taking into account the rising costs of medical treatments, increased demand and the smaller rises in NHS budget.

Monitor has now told foundation trust applicants that they must find savings in the region of 6-7 per cent in order to achieve foundation trust status by 2014. The Department of Health said Monitor’s assessments are challenging but “wants all hospitals to be able to meet Monitor’s standards and show that they can provide sustainable, high quality and efficient services for their patients.”

In order to achieve these savings, clinicians and managers need to have a solution in place that enables them to track and remove inefficiencies and areas of waste.

Ardentia’s Activity Flow Analytics (AFA) allows finance managers to access information on data such as outpatient attendance, trends, patient location and treatment requirements. With this information readily available, Trusts are in a better position to find ways of saving money efficiently; ensuring resources are being used effectively whilst delivering high standards of care.

You can read the full article on Healthcare Today here

More Choice For Patients, Says Monitor

Patients have been promised more choice in where they are treated as a result of plans for more competition in healthcare, according to the BBC.

Dr David Bennett, head of the economic regulator Monitor, has told the BBC he expects to see more private companies and charities treating NHS patients. If NHS services cannot attract patients they will be allowed to close.

Under the government’s plans, Monitor will regulate a healthcare market in which the NHS, private sector companies and charities will compete to treat NHS patients. The watchdog will also have a legal duty to promote competition, while ensuring no community loses access to essential health services.

Dr Bennett believes more competition will mean better value for taxpayers and a ‘pressure to innovate’.

As the new GP commissioning regime is introduced, Trusts will also need to demonstrate to GPs that they are performing well and operating on a firm financial footing.

Business Intelligence tools – like Ardentia’s Patient Level Costing solution and Activity Flow Analytics gives Trusts the data needed to prove to new GP consortia that they can deliver a service within a specified time frame and most importantly, within budget. Therefore, deploying effective BI solutions will support Trusts as they enter a new competitive landscape.

Read the BBC article here.

Tameside Hospital Plans to Reduce Length of Hospital Stays to Save Money

Tameside Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has been warned by Monitor to make significant changes in order to save money and improve its finances.

The independent regulator has found the Trust to be in ‘significant breach’ of its terms after its financial position deteriorated in the second quarter of 2010/11, leaving it with an estimated £1.4m deficit.

The Trust is currently taking steps to generate savings, with plans to cut the length of hospital stays due to new community-based services and daytime surgical facilities.

Although this may be appropriate in some cases, Trusts still need to ensure patients receive the right care, at the right time. Knowing when to discharge a patient is often a fine balance and can be a difficult decision for clinicians – made even more complicated by a variety of financial implications that they have to consider.

In this situation, having access to detailed financial information is vital. Through Ardentia’s Patient Level Costing solution, managers and clinicians can identify the costs associated with each patient’s care. Having this level of insight allows Trusts to calculate the costs of continuing to provide hospital care to a patient, and compare it with the readmission costs for a patient with a similar condition who may have been discharged too early.

Having as much data to work with allows managers to make more informed decisions – ultimately helping to improve care delivery and ensure a positive patient experience.

Deploying PLC at Southampton

E-Health Insider has published the case study about Southampton University Hospitals Trust’s deployment of Ardentia’s Patient Level Costing (PLC) solution.

Based on an interview with the Trust’s finance manager Fiona Boyle, the case study shows how the Trust has moved from static service line reports to in-depth patient-level costing using an Ardentia solution.

The Trust’s 7,500 staff treat more than 115,000 inpatients and day patients every year, including 40,000 emergency admissions. They see 350,000 people at outpatient appointments, and deal with around 85,000 cases in the emergency department.  Providing these services costs more than £800,000 every day, and therefore robust financial management is essential to the effective running of the Trust.

With PLC deployed, the Trust’s clinicians and finance staff can drill down further to analyse data and get the specific information needed to help drive change, deliver improvements and generate savings.

Ardentia’s solution has also enabled staff to compare reference costs with actual costs of treatment at a patient level, helping them meet the requirements of NHS Monitor.

Click here to read the full case study on EHI.

Hospital Trust Facing £14m Budget Deficit

United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust has announced an expected overspend of £14 million pounds for this financial year, prompting a close examination of its expenditure and areas where adjustments can be made to cut costs, without affecting patient experience.

In a statement, the Trust said that a major focus will be on management and administration costs, but confirmed that no area of expenditure will avoid close scrutiny. The Trust has three main hospital sites in Grantham, Lincoln and Boston.

Recent news has already highlighted the importance for trusts to operate on a firm financial footing, and demonstrate they have tight control over budgets to achieve foundation trust status by 2014. Last week, independent regulator Monitor published a list of lessons to be learnt from recent failed foundation trust applications.

In this situation, trusts need effective business intelligence tools that enable finance managers to accurately pinpoint areas of waste. It’s only by being able to locate these inefficiencies, that trusts can start to make the necessary changes without quality of care or patient experience suffering as a result.

Read the full article about United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust on the BBC.

Monitor Issues Recommendations Following Failed Foundation Trust Bids

Independent regulator Monitor has published a list of lessons to be learnt following recent failed foundation trust applications. In new guidance published this week, Monitor said common reasons for failure were lack of transparency in board reporting, limited savings plans and breaches of the private patient income cap.

The guidance came as a number of trusts announced that they would look to merge, rather than pursue applications and become autonomous foundations.

Since September ten trusts have been authorised as foundation trusts but a further 74 acute and 18 mental health trusts are yet to achieve the status. All NHS trusts must either become a foundation trust or merge with one by March 2014.

In preparation for these changes, trusts need to show that they are financially stable, have appropriate market share and are operating as efficiently as possible within budget. This is why implementing business intelligence tools – like Ardentia’s Patient Level Costing and Activity Flow Analytics – which facilitate robust financial analysis could be key in the process of achieving foundation trust status.

Read the full article on HSJ.

Patient Level Costing Pays Off at Southampton

A case study about Southampton University Hospitals Trust’s deployment of Ardentia’s Patient Level Costing (PLC) solution has been published on Health Service Journal.

The Trust provides local hospital services to 500,000 people in Southampton and South Hampshire, as well as specialist services such as neurosciences, cardiac services and children’s intensive care to more than three million people in central southern England and the Channel Islands.

Based on an interview with the Trust’s finance manager Fiona Boyle, the case study shows how the Trust has moved from static service line reports to in-depth patient-level costing using a solution from Ardentia.

With PLC deployed, the Trust’s clinicians and finance staff can drill down further to interrogate data and get the specific information needed to help deliver real improvements, change and increased profitability.

In addition, Ardentia’s solution has enabled staff to compare reference costs with actual costs of treatment at a patient level, helping them meet the requirements of NHS Monitor.

Click here to read the full case study on HSJ and find out more about Southampton’s deployment of PLC.