Temperature Monitoring Protects Against Inflation & Supply Chain Woes
Can technology help healthcare leaders combat rising labor costs?
And can it protect your patients from supply chain challenges impacting life-saving drugs?
Our clients say yes.
It’s news to no one that labor costs, staffing availability, and supply change challenges are stressing employers across the United States.
Help wanted signs appear virtually everywhere and high school students are earning twice the minimum wage and sometimes more for entry-level work in some locations.
While economists and employers attribute the rapidly shifting labor market to a diverse range of variables - from COVID-related government-backed financial support to shifting demographics - there appears no easy culprit that can quickly be addressed to return the system to its pre-COVID order.
And there appears to be no end in sight to this post-COVID economic and labor reality.
The problem is especially acute for healthcare workers and leaders across North America.
Leading news organizations have recently reported how these persistent challenges are stressing healthcare leaders and staff and threatening efforts to content costs and deliver excellent patient care.
A recent report by Bloomberg details the struggles facing nearly every healthcare facility.
The story shares findings from a recent American Hospital Association survey. U.S. hospitals are struggling to absorb rising costs for labor, drugs and supplies as the pandemic drags on.
Labor costs per patient jumped by 19 percent in 2021 from 2019, and supplies rose by over 20 percent per patient during that period, according to the report.
Nursing expenses shifted heavily toward travel nurses. The travelers’ share of nursing budgets rose to 39 percent in 2022 from five percent in 2019.
The Wall Street Journal also reported a similar trend on a recent front page story.
“Hospitals grappling with rising nurse salaries are seeking to raise prices by as much as 15%, touching off contract fights with health insurers and businesses and threatening higher premiums.
HCA Healthcare Inc. and Universal Health Services Inc. are among the hospital operators asking health plans to pay them more for care to offset higher nurse costs.
Neither of the chains would specify the price increases they are requesting, but people familiar with negotiations say some hospitals are asking to boost prices by 7.5% to 15%,” the WSJ reported.
The story highlights how significant hospitals are relative to overall health spending in the United States, accounting for $1 trillion a year. Pay for the 1.9 million nurses is a significant portion of those costs, the WSJ found.
Healthcare leaders are increasingly turning to technology to mitigate these challenges, including remote wireless temperature monitoring solutions that reduce and in some cases eliminate the need for labor-intensive manual logging and tedious compliance reporting.
“We know how difficult it has become to secure the pharmaceutics we took for granted prior to COVID but these supply chain issues are impacting our ability to rapidly resupply our inventories,” said Tim Livesay, Pharmacy Director, Hancock Regional Hospital.
“We value our temperature monitoring solution even more now than when we first installed it because we know we simply can’t afford to lose a single dose of any drug due to a temperature excursion. Our Sonicu system is critical in protecting every single dose in our facility because replacing them quickly can’t be taken for granted any longer.”
Pharmacy leaders and clean room managers across the country should be exploring technologies like wireless remote temperature monitoring that can both reduce the stress on staff and protect increasingly scarce drugs that may not be able to be quickly replaced if lost to a preventable temperature excursion.
Sonicu knows all too well that many hospitals and pharmacies turn to a wireless remote temperature and environmental monitoring solution only after they’ve suffered a catastrophic loss.
“It’s heartbreaking for us to start a relationship with a client after they’ve had to toss expensive and often life-saving drugs because of a preventable temperature excursion,” said Joe Mundell, Chief Revenue Officer, Sonicu.
“Too many of our customers wrongly assumed that their refrigerator or freezer would perform without fail and that’s sadly not the case. Sometimes all it takes is for a unit to be getting up there in years to prompt the sort of temperature excursion that can destroy drugs or priceless research.”
If your facility is still investing in manual logging of temperatures - both cold chain and ambient - you’re probably spending even more time - and money - on that function than prior to COVID thanks to rising labor costs. Healthcare leaders turn to our trusted and affordable wireless remote temperature and environmental monitoring solution to drive down labor costs, increase safety and automate regulatory compliance.
Rising Costs for Staff and Labor
Syntellis, a software company, regularly collects payroll data from more than 135,000 physician groups and 1,000 hospitals. Its recent report captures the challenge in stark terms.
Respiratory care departments, among many others, at hospitals across the country, are stressed by rising labor and supply expenses.
“For the past 14 months, labor costs at respiratory care departments have exceeded pre-pandemic levels. September was no exception: The median labor expense per procedure was nearly 22 percent higher than at the same time in 2019, according to an analysis from Syntellis Performance Solutions.
An increase in the hourly rate of respiratory therapists has contributed to this heightened cost, despite lower staffing levels than before the pandemic.
”Recruiting and retaining talented staff has always been a challenge, but I’ve never seen it like we have in the past year,” said Martha Rardin, Director of Nutrition and Dietetics, Hendricks Regional Hospital. “I don’t know how we fix this issue, but I do know we’re going to have to get creative with how we use technology to reduce the stress on our current employees who are always being asked to do more.”
Supply Chain Challenges: Protecting Precious Medicines
Hospital executives and supply chain managers concur that the COVID-19 pandemic has shown “significant” vulnerabilities in their organizations' supply chains.
And most survey respondents said hospitals should be doing more to address the rising challenge.
Across a sample of 100 organizations polled in late August, 93 percent said their groups have taken steps to address pandemic-exposed shortcomings such as insufficient supply stockpiles, unreliable suppliers, poor visibility into inventory and staff safety risks.
Despite more than nine in ten taking action, most agree not enough is being done.
Nearly 2 out of 3 - 62% of respondents - said their organizations aren't doing enough to address those challenges, with the same percentage also saying they believe fewer than half of all hospitals have taken the appropriate steps to protect against a future disruption, according to the poll conducted by Sage Growth Partners on behalf of inventory management platform vendor Syft.
And the data exposes a fairly significant difference in perception between executive leadership and the supply chain managers on the front lines of this issue.
While nearly eight of ten - 79 percent of these respondents - indicated their hospitals manage their supply chains “extremely well or very well,” only 64 percent of vice presidents, directors and managers in charge of the supply chain and managing materials indicated the same.
If you’re worried about losing life-saving drugs and being able to rapidly replace them, you should consider a remote wireless temperature and environmental monitoring system designed to decrease labor costs, improve safety and automate regulatory compliance.
Available on a desktop or via our mobile app, the Sonicu platform delivers a simple, affordable, and trusted solution to help healthcare leaders decrease labor costs and protect assets that could be lost to a preventable temperature excursion. When coupled with our humidity, air pressure differential, and noise monitoring, Sonicu delivers a robust solution designed around safety, efficiency and compliance readiness.
American Made and Supported Technology
Not all environmental monitoring systems are created or supported with the same. Anyone considering making this important investment should consider asking many important questions before they sign on the dotted line.
We’ve created a simple and straightforward FAQ document that helps healthcare, research and life science leaders consider which solution might be right for them.
It’s important to understand the long-term relationship between customers and support staff since many hospitals, pharmacies and research centers maintain their monitoring relationship for many years.
Sonicu is proud to say that all of our hardware is assembled in the United States and that all of our support and service staff are also located in the United States. Our support team is never more than a phone call away and our internal surveys show we provide exemplary customer service to more than 90 percent to our support requests.
TIME STUDY TO MEASURE COSTS: Small tasks equal big money
Rardin conducted a time study to better understand how much time her staff was spending conducting manual logging of temperatures and realized it was roughly the equivalent of two full-time employees salaries each year.
Steve Long, CEO, Hancock Health, said his staff was spending about two hours per day across all the departments in its 166-bed facility.
Both turned to Sonicu to decrease the amount of staff time dedicated daily to logging temperatures.
Don’t let rising labor costs and supply chain challenges threaten your ability to serve your patients and clients. Set up a risk-free demo today to learn more about how we’re helping healthcare professionals like you improve the way you do business.
Other Time-Saving Technologies for Healthcare
With patient care always being the end goal, there are many other areas where technology is improving the patient experience, and often saving time for physicians and other staff.
Monitoring the patients in real-time is providing powerful data that improve outcomes, according to this blog by Reaktor.
Better digital monitoring of diseases is already saving lives – first studies indicate that the survival rate of cancer patients has gone up because of increased accuracy in monitoring symptoms and the impact of medication.
Advanced machine learning and better analysis of data are producing revolutionary results: Netmedi can already predict the recurrence rate of one type of cancer based on historical data.
Staff shortages and rising costs are not just a challenge in the United States. Healthcare leaders are facing similar issues in Europe as well.
The more time healthcare practitioners have, the more time they can spend helping patients to get better.
This blog highlights some other technologies healthcare practitioners are using to decrease manual processes and spend more time focused on patient care.
Automate patient appointment booking
Patient appointment booking is much like manual logging of temperatures, a small task that can add up to significant costs over time.
Healthcare providers that fail to allow patients to reserve online create more work for staff, who then have less time to spend dealing with patients in-person.
- Schedule meetings automatically
When we automate meeting scheduling, staff can stop worrying about coordinating schedules. Instead, the meeting organizer tells software whom they need in the meeting, and the software uses this information to coordinate the best time to meet.
It does this using calendar sync, which factors in attendees’ real-time availability and prevents any double-bookings.
Automate repeat prescriptions
Repeat prescriptions are a tedious but necessary process for staff and patients.
By allowing patients to re-order via the web, then automatically sending them to the patients’ preferred pharmacy upon approval, it saves patients from another in-person visit.