by Jen Jenkins, Market Analyst
In most lines of business, the cost of goods and services is known down to the penny. Typically this information is essential in order to set prices and ensure the business is operating efficiently. In the world of medicine though, a field where everything else is succinctly measured, this is not the case.
A recent New York Times article delves into this topic using a question posed by Dr. Vivian Lee, Chief Executive of the University of Utah Health Care. Several years ago, Dr. Lee simply asked her team what the goods and services provided by the hospital system cost; no one had the answers. Due to this revelation, she initiated a project in order to get such answers, which presently are not only saving money but are also improving care.
The key element in this project at the University of Utah Health Care has been a fascinating computer program, which is continuously being developed. The program has 200 million rows of costs for nearly anything that can be thought of in the medical field as well as a way to track hospital stays and re-admissions, among other things.
The progress made here as far as determining costs of care was labeled by a Harvard economist as “epic.” In comparison, there are hardly any other medical institutions that have even a remote idea what their costs are. Fortunately as this is issue is glaringly brought to attention, more and more establishments in the medical field are following the lead of Dr. Lee and the University of Utah Health Care since there is now a tried and true way to solve what was previously labeled a serious problem.