Maximizing Your Health Center's Performance and Making a Business Case

Successful organizations rely on systematic methods of tracking results and compiling data to effectively demonstrate what has been profitable and beneficial. Measurable results can lead to increased budgets, new resources or even a raise.

Nuesoft Xpress(TM) client Brenda Dalton, MBA, MSN, RN-C, WHNP spoke on the importance of "Making a Business Case for your Health Center" at the Mid-Atlantic College Health Association conference Oct. 22-24 in Lancaster, Pa. Her presentation highlighted the importance of maintaining a high level of business know-how in your approach to student health care services so that you can maximize your health center's performance, market your department, build and maintain relationships with the decision makers of your university and reach key goals.

"Colleges are faced with having to validate rising costs of tuition; as tuition costs increase, sometimes student health services get the lower end of the budget," said Dalton. "That's why it is so important for student health care providers to make an effort to gain the attention of those who influence or control the budget."

According to Dalton, one of the ways you can maximize your health center's performance is to automate many of the everyday functions required to run your office. For example:

* Use a computerized scheduling system

* Electronically integrate a student's demographic information with her/his medical record

* Increase accuracy with an Electronic Medical Record (EMR)

* Track immunization compliance

Dalton said that once the steps to maximize your health center's performance have been made, you should begin to market your department:

* Use student groups and organizations to tell your department's story.

* Communicate department accomplishments to public relations for inclusion in campus newsletters, web pages or other campus communication tools.

* Be a featured health writer or interviewee in the student newspaper.

But marketing may not be enough, either. Dalton stresses that a big part of being successful stems from the ability to articulate results effectively to decision makers.

With so many health care centers closing down, Dalton notes, "When I can, and as often as I can, I want to sell the value of my department. It's about survival."