You Want To Set Up Successful Hospitals? Don’t Make These 19 Mistakes
Doctors and other health workers are human beings and also make mistakes. However, an irreversible mistake is what everyone should strive as much as possible to avoid as this can lead to death or business failure. Besides, we all expect hospitals to be perfect and flawless in their operations.
There was a case of a woman who was detained at an airport for setting off the metal alarm during physical examination. After two full searches on her body without a successful discovery of the metal, the airport security decided to let her go. She decided to visit a hospital upon arriving her destination and found out that she had surgical equipment, the size of a small crowbar, stuck around her abdomen from a recent operation.
“How can a hospital make such a mistake?” might be the question on your mind. Well, I am about to show you the fifteen most common mistakes hospitals make. I am sorry to break your heart, but you really need to know you are human and can make mistakes.
There’s no doubt the healthcare industry is so profitable and the decision to start your own practice is certainly exciting, but that won’t make it easy. There are many challenges you have to face. With that in mind, here are some mistakes you must avoid.
#1. Don’t Skip The Planning Phase
Launching your own business, no matter what that business might be, is definitely exciting. However, you shouldn’t get ahead of yourself.
Before you start looking at premises or buying the essentials, you have to come up with a business plan. While this isn’t the most interesting of tasks, it’s one that must be done. Skipping the planning phase will mean operating in the dark.
#2. Don’t Ignore The Local Competition
A healthcare business, like any other, is sure to have competition. To build a profitable practice, you should check out the closest hospital in the local area and determine how they might affect you.
If there is another medical practice in close proximity to yours, this is likely to cause problems. You might find it difficult to secure patients, which is why areas without other practices are best.
#3. Don’t Neglect The Marketing Strategy
Without marketing, no one will know that your practice exists. This means that you won’t secure any patients or make any money, which will result in closure.
The good news is, there are many effective marketing tactics that you can try, many of which are budget-friendly. You need extremely good contents to put out there. With a combination of good contents and social media marketing, you are good to go.
#4. Don’t Give Wrong X-ray Results
A lot of people have suffered emotionally and financially because of this costly mistake – X-ray Misplacement And Mixing.
A Zimbabwean had to sell his properties to afford surgery in India after he was wrongly diagnosed with a live cockroach in his chest. This young man travelled to India only to be told that the cockroach wasn’t actually in his system but in the x-ray machine that was used to check his system.
You can only imagine the financial, emotional and physical stress this man had to go through because of an avoidable mistake.
Another serious problem is the issue of X-ray mixing. I once watched a full documentary of a hospital that mixed the x-ray result of a patient diagnosed with a broken limb with that of someone with just a sprain. The hospital kept treating the person with a broken limb with the medication for a mild sprain. 😐
Avoid this type of mistake if you want to have a successful hospital.
#5. Don’t Avoid The Necessary Purchases
Running any business is expensive, but medical practices are more costly than most.
Because of this, you may look for ways to save money. While there are plenty of ideas to choose from, you shouldn’t put off purchasing the essentials.
There are many tools and supplies you will need to run your practice effectively. Not buying high-quality uniforms for nurses will only harm your service.
#6. Don’t Implement Poor Security
Almost all hospitals get this particular one wrong. I don’t know if it’s the popular belief that security isn’t really needed at a hospital. However, research has proven that crimes are also committed in hospitals on a regular basis. In fact, there are about five security challenges that hospitals face;
- Abuse and battery of medical staff
- Active assailant attacks
- Infant abductions
- Supplies and property theft
- The pressure to cut costs
All these security issues plague hospitals and patients suffer for it. There was a case of a man who was mildly shot by an assassin. The victim was rushed to the hospital and the doctors managed to take out the bullet. However, because of the porous security at the hospital, the assassin was able to gain entry and finished the job by injecting the patient’s Intravenous therapy with poison.
#7. Don’t Pay Yourself Too Little
No one should start a business just for the paycheck, especially in the healthcare industry. Instead, you should do so because you’re passionate about medicine and want to help people.
Nonetheless, you must pay yourself a fair salary for the work you do. Paying yourself too little could cause you to struggle financially, which may result in stress that affects your work and ability to make good business decisions.
#8. Don’t Perform A Wrong Surgery
This is not as uncommon as you think. There have been cases of doctors getting fined for performing wrong surgeries or doing way too much. There was a doctor who was fined for removing a woman’s kidney in a situation that should have been a minor routine surgery. Exhaustion from back to back surgeries can cause you to make extremely expensive mistakes.
According to a chief medical examiner, it is important to confirm with a senior surgeon and the patient on the particular area where the operation is to be carried out. This reminds me of a time I took my laptop to a technician for a battery problem. Unfortunately, by the time I got it back, my screen and CD ROM had stopped working.
To avoid something like this happening on your body system, always confirm major surgical procedures before commencement.
#9. Don’t Administer A Wrong Medication
This is a mistake some hospitals make when they get too busy. Sometimes, health workers get so busy that they end up giving a drug meant for patient X to patient Y. This implies that a diabetic patient could be given the drugs of an asthmatic patient. Yes! These mistakes are made on a daily basis and the patients suffer. Sometimes, these mistakes cost the patient the rest of their lives at a JC Recovery Center, for many of these drugs are addictive. One way to avoid this particular mistake is to have as many hands as possible and also encourage your patients to ask questions.
Your patients should be free to ask any questions as regards their medications to avoid this potentially fatal mistake e.g Is that drug for me? What does it do? Does it have any side effects? Are there dos and don’ts attached to the drug?
These questions will prompt your health workers to cross-check and confirm. If they don’t, patients might wind up with worse health problems.
#10. Don’t Administer Unnecessary Medications
Sometimes doctors might prescribe a drug that might not be necessary. Take for instance the antibiotics, the prescription of this drug can be somewhat unnecessary but doctors feel the pressure to still prescribe the drug. However, these drugs have powerful side effects, one of them being drowsiness.
In addition, taking this drug too much can cause the infections in your body to become unaffected by it. Therefore, it is advisable to speak up during your appointment with the doctor, ask questions like; What is my ailment, What will these drugs do and Are there any side effects I should know about? You may feel like “won’t I bothering the doctor” the truth is you are not, You are only exercising your right by being concerned about your health.
#11. Don’t Misdiagnose
This a common mistake made by hospitals. Since the right diagnosis is the key to all the treatment, a misdiagnosis could lead to the early death of a patient. Work stress could cause doctors to overlook some important procedures and protocols. A proper shift system will do well to reduce this kind of mistakes.
Sometimes, experienced doctors diagnose ailments based on predictions and guesses. In this case, it is advisable for patients to have a test or more to be sure the diagnosis is actually correct.
#12. Don’t neglect your patient
Sometimes, a favourite doctor who knows a lot about a patient’s history may be unavailable the doctor on call would take charge. In some cases, other specialists will scribble on their notes without actually coordinating with the previous doctors. In this case, the patient may not feel as much bonding as with the previous.
If possible, a single doctor should be allowed to handle a patient throughout or almost throughout to feel more comfortable without having to give the next doctor a heads up.
Another case of poor patient care is the nonchalant attitude shown by nurses towards patients. I do not want to generalize because I have met very compassionate nurses who love their profession and give their best. However, there are also nurses who show very little passion for the profession and patients get to bear the brunt.
#13. Sanitize your equipment/beddings
I decided to add this to the list because I was a witness to this very deadly mistake. My aunt had a very bad sore on her feet in 2008. She was taken to the hospital where she was admitted. According to my mom who stayed with her by her bed, Aunt Lois wanted to use the hospital toilet and told my mom she could go on her own and she did.
After four hours, my aunt started getting this itches in her private part and lap, at first they thought it was just mosquitoes but my mom became alarmed when my aunt’s body temperature began to rise.
The doctor was called in by 4 am, he diagnosed my aunt with an infection and it took two weeks before my aunt was discharged, what should have taken just three days turned into two weeks of intense pain.
I will advise you to take your own toiletries, bed sheets, pillowcases and body wipes to the hospital. Of every 100 hospitalized patients at any given time, 7 in developed and 10 in developing countries will acquire healthcare-associated infections (HAIs). Millions of patients are affected worldwide each year. Simple and low-cost infection prevention and control measures, such as appropriate hand hygiene, can reduce the frequency of HAIs by more than 50%.
#14. Give prompt attention
Some doctors will tell you there is no reason to be bothered or be on edge about a certain thing even when experiencing some kind of pain or gut feeling that something is wrong somewhere. Assurances are fine some doctors will downplay these signs until it’s too late and irreversible damage may have been done. To have a successful hospital, you should give rapt attention to subtle changes as soon as possible because predictions might go wrong.
Most times, before something worse happens to a patient, there are usually warning signs like increase in blood pressure, temperature, sugar level or heart rate. If you genuinely have a bad feeling about someone’s health, you should act fast and not tell the person to bother less. You could have a test carried out to know the reasons for the warning signs. It is their body and even though you are trained to understand the body system, patients are in the best position to explain how exactly they feel.
#15. Don’t perform Unnecessary Surgeries
I once read on Facebook about a healthy twenty-two-year-old who had a brain surgery that left him paralysed. He battled for years before finally succumbing to various infections. Do you know the worse part of the whole thing? The surgery wasn’t even needed in the first place. It was a very sad and tragic story that made the local newspaper for over 6 weeks.
This left his family, especially his mother, devastated. The hospital was sued and according to the boy’s mother, she said they don’t want compensation but justice. This death could have been avoided if the doctors were just a little bit more diligent in looking for better alternatives than surgeries.
#16. Don’t tolerate Negligence
Sometimes gross negligence can be the reason why someone lost his life in a hospital. Hospital staff should be careful enough to not drop things anyhow. There has been an increase of suicidal attempts in hospitals over the past few years.
Nurses tend to drop powerful medications anyhow, and when suicidal patients get hold of them, they try to take their lives and sometimes they succeed. Encourage loved ones to be around their sick ones to guard against such.
#17. Don’t Work On Your Own
Being experienced in medicine doesn’t make you a business person. Unless you have business experience, it’s best that you find a mentor who can guide you.
There are also a number of tasks that you may wish to outsource. You could delegate the practice fit-out to Perfect Practice, for example, while the web design could be done by freelancers. Eventually, you will have to hire staff in your hospital too.
#18. Don’t Transfuse Wrongly
It might surprise you to know that hospitals still make these fatal mistakes. According to Africa World Health Organization, about 4-16% of deaths in Africa hospitals are caused by adverse events. More than half of these occur in surgical care and more than half are preventable.
Sometimes because of the workload in the lab, the lab attendant might mistakenly switch patient blood type and that simple mistake could cost a life. This is especially common in government or teaching hospitals where patients troop in and out regularly.
#19. Don’t Discharge Patients Too Fast
According to research, many discharged patients usually return to the hospital because they were discharged too early. Sometimes, a patient might seem to recover but the worse might be lurking. This is why some smart doctors will insist on monitoring a patient for a while even against the patient’s will.
If a quick discharge leads to any fatality, complications or accidents, the doctor will not be held accountable.
A successful business should be much more than the gadget or gizmo that it sells. Anyone can come up with a hospital, after all. However, the reason why some businesses succeed while many others fail is that the former is passionate about fulfilling a need while the latter is more money-driven.
When launching your own medical hospital or hospitals, try to avoid making the mistakes listed above and you will find yourself on the path of success. 😉