As a hospital administrator, reducing expenses is always a top priority. There are many technologically complex strategies you can use to cut expenses. Sometimes, however, simple logic can be your best bet.

Researchers have identified a number of simple but highly effective ways hospitals can save money and increase patient safety. You can put them into practice immediately. Try these recommendations:

Change your mattresses.

A study from the University of Toronto found that pressure reduction mattresses, which can prevent bedsores, are an excellent, low-cost way to cut readmission rates, especially for elderly patients.

Place these mattresses in patient rooms and your ER and rotate at-risk patients into these beds or make the reasonable and wise decision to replace all your mattresses this way — you'll enjoy big long-term benefits.

Assign lay health workers to patients before they leave the hospital.

These workers can drive patients to follow-up appointments and help them access health information regarding their conditions and medications post-discharge.

Research conducted at St. Claire Regional Medical Center in Kentucky found that lay health workers are another powerful tool in reducing readmission rates by as much as 56-77%.

Know your "touch points."

Researchers at Queensland University found that when healthcare workers simply identify and focus intense cleaning on the spots that healthcare workers and patients touch in hospital rooms and bathrooms, patients can experience a 37% lower chance of developing a costly secondary infection.

Sinks, toilets, curtains around beds, phones, TV remotes, tabletops, and door handles are examples of these hot spots. Refresh your cleaning staff's protocol knowledge to give spots like these extra attention.

Pinpoint procedures with high complication rates.

A Brigham and Women's Hospital research review found that only a small number of surgical procedures account for a whopping 80% of all hospital admissions, deaths and high patient costs.

These procedures include:

  • partial colectomy
  • appendectomy
  • peptic ulcer surgery
  • gall bladder removal
  • small bowel resection
  • removal of abdominal adhesions
  • surgery to open the abdomen

Carefully monitor your healthcare workers and patients before, during and after these operations to make sure diagnostics, procedure and post-op are handled to the letter.

Gather feedback.

Ask your staff for their suggestions on ways they think they can cut costs on a daily basis, then put their tips into motion. Your workers in the wards know best — respect their expertise in terms of what your patients need and in terms of ways to cut back by getting rid of unnecessary or little-used equipment.

When cost-cutting becomes a group effort, you can drill down to the most granular level of needed change and garner great results!