Resource Library

Cost Control Playbook

Feeling pressure to maintain margin performance and secure financial sustainability? You’re not alone. Providers of all sizes, locations, types, and patient/payer mixes report a substantive decrease in operating margins and budget turmoil. While margins are still relatively healthy (between 2.5% and 3.0%), costs are quickly outgrowing revenue.

That’s why we’ve created the Cost Control Playbook—a one-stop destination for system-wide cost control strategies.

Jump down to explore our top resources on cost control

  1. Research Report: Cost Control Atlas
  2. Customized Presentation: Margin Improvement Intensive
  3. Tool: The Hospital Benchmark Generator
  4. Research Report: Toward True Sustainability
  5. Research Report: The New Cost Mandate
  6. Research Report: The Sustainable Acute Care Enterprise
  7. Research Report: Untapped Opportunities for Saving Millions
  8. Executive Research Briefing: The Hospital of the Future



1. Cost Control Atlas

Cost Control Atlas

Download the Cost Control Atlas for our three-pronged strategy for cost reduction:

1. All-Hands-on-Deck Tactical Agenda: Near-term and medium-term implementation of proven best practices across all departments to accumulate savings

2. Fixed Cost Restructuring: Longer-term efforts to reshape service and asset portfolios for sustainable competitive advantage

3. Clinical Variation Reduction: Sustained commitment to reliable clinical care resulting in substantial and ongoing cost savings

Download the Cost Control Atlas

The Cost Control Atlas is a chapter from The Finance Leader’s Resource Guide. Download the full guide here.




2. Margin Improvement Intensive

Looking for more customized insight? The Margin Improvement Intensive includes three tools to help hospitals and health systems prepare for increasing reliance on publicly insured volume:

  • Customized scenarios for key financial and operational metrics
  • A facilitated session with an Advisory Board expert to discuss your assessment results and present research tailored to your most pressing improvement opportunities
  • An institution-specific action plan for putting your recommended strategies into place

Learn More




3. The Hospital Benchmark Generator

The Hospital Benchmark Generator

Get one-stop-shop access to Medicare benchmarks without the hassle. Use the Hospital Benchmark Generator to see how your organization's performance on finance, quality, and utilization metrics stacks up against a custom cohort of your choice.

Access the Tool




4. Toward True Sustainability

The New Cost Mandate

Explore the characteristics of cost-disciplined organizations and examine the role of hospital and health system executives in achieving sustainable expense growth.

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5. The New Cost Mandate

The New Cost Mandate

At current course and speed, hospitals and health systems are quickly approaching financial unsustainability. Rapidly growing operating expenses and threats to revenue growth are putting tremendous pressure on margins.

Providers already face threats to both volumes and prices, which will only intensify as a result of ongoing changes to payment policies, patient demographics, insurance benefits, and the competitive landscape. Combined, these trends reveal a long-term, revenue-driven margin challenge. As a result, hospitals and health systems need new strategies to effectively and sustainably slow operating expense growth to protect future margins.

This research report unpacks the drivers of the emerging margin management challenge and provides a road map of strategic solutions for hospital and health system leaders.

Download the Research Report




6. The Sustainable Acute Care Enterprise

The Sustainable Acute Care Enterprise

Historically, hospitals and health systems have responded to periods of economic distress with cost-cutting campaigns. However, given long-term, structural changes to the health care market and acute care business model, such campaigns are likely to yield limited returns unless they can fundamentally bend the slope of the cost growth curve.

Download this research report to learn 10 lessons for restructuring costs and operations to remain profitable amid the ever-changing health care landscape.

Download the Research Report




7. Untapped Opportunities for Saving Millions

Untapped Opportunities for Saving Millions

Health care leaders are setting ambitious cost-cutting goals to fund new resources and care delivery investments. To achieve these goals sooner rather than later, they'll need to target areas of expenditure with the biggest near-term savings potential—which aren't those you might expect.

This research report equips nurse leaders to act on the four ripest cost-saving opportunities:

1. Reducing premium labor
2. Modernizing outdated care protocols
3. Eliminating supply waste
4. Restructuring unfavorable contract terms

Download the Research Report




8. The Hospital of the Future

The Hospital of the Future

The fundamental assumptions underpinning traditional acute care strategy are becoming increasingly weaker—which means current hospitals aren't suitable for future market demands

To achieve acute care sustainability, organizations have to shift focus from labor, supply cost, and clinical variation to the challenge with the greatest savings potential: fixed costs.

This executive research briefing shares tactics for significantly restructuring fixed costs by reallocating services across the system and rightsizing excess inpatient capacity.

Download the Executive Research Briefing




Get customized help with your cost control efforts

Whether you're interested in the Margin Improvement Intensive or just have some questions about controlling costs at your organization, we're here to help.

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