Lateral Solutions to Reducing Hidden Costs
By Curtis Hand, Elliott & Partners Healthcare Team
Many costs are “Hidden” and often overlooked. Something as simple as lost man-hours, operational inefficiencies (including theft, parts replacements and repairs) or avoidable inconveniences is often left off the balance sheet. However, these things still affect productivity and the “bottom line.”
Consider hospital wheelchairs. It is something that is often required for every patient in the hospital at some point during his or her treatment. Although a wheelchair might cost “X” there are many additional costs associated with it that are hidden, such as repairs, need for constant maintenance, missing or broken parts, time lost locating them, staff strain injuries, and theft.
The reality is that routine items/small costs add up to a major headache as managers try to untangle financial knots constricting a healthcare system’s ability to function cost effectively for the facility’s and patients’ benefit. Wheelchairs – necessary equipment – typically lead to unnecessary costs.
Triumph Out of Tragedy
Andy Hart formed the STAXI corporation out of personal tragedy. He found that products available did not meet the demands required for functionality and optimum quality of life. He noticed health facilities always seemed short of wheelchairs due to misplacement, theft or service.
Being an innovative entrepreneur, he spent considerable time and money studying various aspects of traditional and specialist chairs to understand what works best. A.J. Hart grouped the areas where wheelchairs needed help into the following categories:
- Ruggedness of construction
- Simplicity of use
- Locate-ability / theft
- Occupational / attendant “sympathy”
He developed an alternative transportation chair, the STAXI, as a result.
Easy to Find – The STAXI was easy to find because it was designed to be nestable so it could be stored in central locations, save space and be easily accounted for by healthcare teams. The STAXI only requires 1/3 the space of a normal wheelchair. It is also available with docking stations and coin-reward/release systems.
Simple to Use – The STAXI is ergonomic and highly manoeuvrable easier to push than regular wheelchairs. Passenger transfers are made easy for both patient and attendant; the seat is far more comfortable for passengers; and, STAXI has an automatic braking system.
Built to Last – Because the STAXI has few removable parts and is made of rugged construction and materials, it has a low-maintenance requirement, meaning it has a longer life than normal wheelchairs.
Hard to Steal – The STAXI, by design is theft resistant, and has no removable parts that can be stripped, stolen or misplaced. Moreover, it has ample inbuilt storage – 2.5 cubic ft (70 litres) of under-seat space for a patient’s records and personal belongings.
Doing the Maths
“Many healthcare facilities internationally are familiar with the concept of what is commonly called ‘stackable wheelchairs.’ However, STAXI is quite different from other mobility solutions; it is a safe, robust, comfortable transportation ‘system’ that pays for itself. This is rather new concept for most of Europe,” said STAXI Business Manager (UK-Europe) David Gallant.
When considering hidden costs and the benefits of simple solutions such as replacing wheelchairs with a STAXI, some US healthcare facilities save approximately €100,000 annually. This cost-savings overtime adds up and allows resources to be redirected into better healthcare.
STAXI are used worldwide, with the largest marketplace in North America. However, UK’s NHS uses them and STAXIs are being adopted across Europe. David Gallant, the UK-European main point of contact, is available to meet with facility managers to discuss the patient, staff and financial benefits of the STAXI range of nestable transportation chairs at email@example.com. More information can be found at www.staxi.com