Healthcare facilities are struggling to turn profits, say researchers — especially nonprofit hospitals, which are on an “unsustainable path” with expenses outpacing revenue, says a report by Moody’s.

Morgan Stanley, the investment bank and financial services company, has also been looking at hospitals, analyzing data on more than 6,000 facilities: Nearly 10% are at risk for closure and another 10% are performing poorly, bringing the percentage of at-risk hospitals to 20%. “Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Kansas, Tennessee and Pennsylvania had the highest concentration of hospitals in the ‘at risk’ pool,” reported Beckers Hospital Review.

Risk factors are plenty, including growing competition (e.g., emerging retail healthcare and higher-occupancy facilities located nearby), rising costs, operating inefficiencies, and high-deductible health plans.

Clearly, this is a complex challenge, and solutions are often hard to pinpoint or implement. If your healthcare facility is struggling to remain profitable, we can’t point you to a “fix” but we can help you improve operational efficiencies, patient satisfaction and safety, leveraging tools you already have now.

Staffing issues, wait times, delayed response to nurse call buttons, slow room turnovers, mobility issues, noise levels are all things that can snowball into great or terrible patient experiences, patient throughput, and use of your resources. These are also routine elements you can automate and accelerate with pre-programmable, automated alerts using tools like:

  • Mobile app
  • PC alerts
  • SMS & pager integration
  • Unified communications and phone/voice integration
  • LED signage
  • Visual PA
  • Wireless panic button
  • Noise level monitoring

Again, we’re not talking about buying all new equipment, but using equipment you have now in more efficient, integrated ways so you’re increasing their capabilities and easing staff workload. (Here’s a printable reference sheet to help clarify some scenarios.)

Whatever steps you take to improve your hospital operations and the financial rewards that follow, one thing is certain: Different results require different approaches. As Gurpreet Singh, partner and U.S. health services leader at PwC, told FierceHealthcare, “If you’re not in the game of creating new growth opportunities, then you’re at risk of being upside down, so to speak, and at risk of closure.”

What operational, routine or emergency communications tasks can you put on autopilot now to improve operations just a few weeks from now?