Activity Based Costing And Hospital Cost Efficiency Accounting

While many infirmaries are under force per unit area to go more cost efficient, new bing systems such as Activity-based costing ( ABC ) may organize a solution. However, the factors that may ease ( or inhibit ) cost system changes towards ABC have non yet been disentangled in a specific infirmary context. ( Greene 2001 ) Via a study survey of infirmaries, we discovered that cost system development in infirmaries could mostly be explained by infirmary specific factors. Issues such as the support of the medical parties towards cost system usage, the consciousness of jobs with the bing legal cost system, the manner infirmaries and doctors arrange reimbursements, should be considered if infirmaries refine their cost system. Conversely, ABC-adoption issues that were found to be important in other industries are less of import. Apparently, put ining a cost system requires a different attack in hospital scenes. Particularly, consequences suggest that hospital direction should non undervalue the involvement of the doctor in the procedure of redesigning cost systems. ( Eldenburg 1997 )


With borders on the diminution, more restrictive reimbursement strategies based on diagnostic-related groups ( DRGs ) , increasing complexness and rise costs, the wellness attention sector faces a new challenge of going more cost efficient to last in this altering environment. More developed cost systems such as Activity Based Costing ( ABC ) , may ease this strive for cost efficiency. ABC provides more elaborate cost information on the activities of the infirmary, which could typically ensue in better cost decrease and cost direction. ( Udpa 1996 )

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In other industries, it has proven to be successful since houses that extensively use ABC outperform similar matched houses that do non follow ABC, chiefly through more efficient cost control attempts. However, while there are different degrees of cost system design, it seems singular that the figure of infirmaries roll uping cost on a more elaborate footing remains limited as a get downing point we look at ABC-adoption in other industries. ( Greene 2001 )

The consequences of our study, conducted in the infirmary sector, show that cost system betterment in infirmaries, is mostly determined by wellness attention specific factors such as the dissatisfaction with the legal system, the support of medical staff to cost system usage, the manner the reimbursements between infirmaries and their doctors are arranged etc… This seems to propose that wellness attention direction should concentrate on infirmary specific elements in order to ease ABC acceptance. ( Eldenburg 1997 )

Literature Review

In many states infirmaries are lawfully required for returning intents to hold a predefined cost allotment strategy. This makes them alone to other industries where such a legal duty does non be. The legal system largely takes the signifier of a step-down allotment of costs from service sections ( e.g. disposal, cafeteria, wash, etc. ) to gross bring forthing sections such as ague attention, surgery and research lab. ( Hill 1994 )

Drivers of Activity Cost Base System

General drivers of cost system development

There merely exist a limited figure of surveies that identified some general drivers of cost system betterment for houses in other industries.

Cost variableness.

Firms with a higher degree of indirect operating expense and greater heterogeneousness in the manner merchandises make usage of the house ‘s resources are expected to present more refined bing systems. This issue may playa function in a infirmary. ( Greene 2001 )

Cost importance.

This issue chiefly captures the manner houses in other industries perceive cost informations as crucial for their determinations and their competitory place. ( Hill 1994 )

Quality nexus.

Firms that focus on quality frequently link their formal quality plans with more accurate ABC-systems. Hospitals originating plans to better the quality of the attention processes may be more in demand of a cost system that accurately captures the cost of this different attention procedure. ( Hill 1994 )

System State.

This issue concerns the general amplification of the IT -system within a house. The more detailed and integrated the system and the more public presentation steps it gathers, the easier it is to present ABC-systems that make usage of IT systems and their information. ( Ittner 2002 )

Perceived complexness.

This issue in fact gaining controls whether the house ‘s operational environment is perceived as complex.

Research Method

The study was conducted on a sample of infirmaries, located in Flemish portion of Belgium. Similar to most other states, all infirmaries in our sample are required to publish a legal cost study based on an detailed set of drivers in a step-down allotment strategy from service to gross bring forthing sections. In add-on, these infirmaries besides agree on assorted reimbursement strategies with their doctors. A sum of 120 questionnaires were issued to either general infirmaries, academic infirmaries, psychiatric infirmaries or specialized infirmaries. The study administered inquiries to place the phase of cost system development and the infirmary particular and general drivers that are perchance linked with the degree of cost system design.

The study was either addressed to the main executive officer of the infirmary installations or the head of the disposal and fiscal section. These respondents are most likely to be informed about the design and the usage of cost systems in their infirmary. Of the 120 questionnaires, we received 50 valid responses. This corresponds to a response rate of about 42 % . Of the 50 valid answers, 48 % came from general private 8 infirmaries, 10 % from general public infirmaries, 38 % from psychiatric installations and the staying 4 % from either academic or specialised private infirmaries. It is of import to observe that the sample ‘s distribution is non significantly different from the distribution within the entire population of 120 Flemish infirmaries ( Chi-square: 2.3 ; P = 0.13 ) . In footings of size our sample counted 20 % little installations with less so 200 beds, 56 % intermediate-sized infirmaries with 200 to 499 beds and 24 % big infirmaries with over 500 beds. ( Eldenburg 1997 )

Dependent variable

The primary dependant variable for our survey is the phase of cost system development. Via our study survey we were able to place three possible degrees of cost system design. A first group of infirmaries merely installed the legal system. A 2nd group of infirmaries is in the procedure of altering their cost system. Either they started with little accommodations to their legal system by presenting more specific drivers and cost objects ( e.g. patient-levels, DRG-levels ) or they were in the procedure of sing ABC. This group may be situated on a kind of ‘intermediate degree ‘ in the procedure of alteration towards more refined bing systems. The last group is on a more advanced degree of cost system polish. They really indicated to be experimenting with ABC and as a consequence of this exercising they developed an adapted cost system. The sample of 50 infirmaries is distributed across these three possible development phases of cost system design. One should farther observe that infirmaries in stage 1 are someway distinguishable from the two other groups. Unlike infirmaries in stage 2 and 3, these infirmaries do nil in footings of cost system polish.

Independent variables

The general drivers and most of the infirmary specific elements, except for the type of reimbursement strategy, were measured via multiple ( e.g. two or more ) points that were in fact based on our statements of the literature reappraisal. Respondents indicated the relevancy for each point on a five-point Likert-scale ( 1= strongly disagree ; 5= strongly agree ) . A first set contains points for the general drivers such as cost variableness, cost importance, quality nexus, system province and perceived complexness. The following set focuses on the staying infirmary specific issues such as organisational support, satisfaction with and the usage of the legal system and the degree of struggle between direction and doctors. However to prove whether our points really capture the presumed concept, factor analyses were performed on both the sets of general drivers and infirmary specific factors. ( Udpa 1996 )


As infirmaries ‘ income is under force per unit area as a consequence of lifting wellness attention costs and more restrictive budget restraints, infirmaries are looking for options to go more cost efficient. For helping their strive for cost efficiency, wellness attention organisations may desire to follow more refined bing techniques, such as activity based costing ( ABC ) as they have proven to be successful in other industries. However the factors that facilitate ( or inhibit ) this alteration towards ABC have non yet been investigated in hospital scenes. Via a study we individual out factors that explain farther cost system development in a wellness attention context. First of wholly, the study shows that similar to other industries cost system alteration in infirmaries bit by bit happens in different phases. ( Hill 1994 )

However and more significantly, consequences indicate that the general drivers of ABC acceptance from other industries are less important for advancing cost system alteration in infirmaries. Apparently, typical characteristics of the wellness attention sector such as the satisfaction with and the usage of the bing legal system, the support of the medical squad, the degree of struggle with and the manner in which doctors are reimbursed seem to explicate fluctuations in cost system development among infirmaries. Hospitals are rather alone scenes in a sense that they have to work with extremely independent groups of doctors. While cost system alterations usually flow from top direction, our consequences suggest that in infirmaries doctors and other medical parties are seemingly powerful alliances when it comes to redesigning cost systems. Not merely the support of the medical squad towards cost system alteration, but besides a minimum degree of struggle with the doctor, make cost system alteration towards ABC more likely. ( Eldenburg 1997 )

The manner infirmaries arrange their reimbursement with the doctors may besides necessitate reappraisal. If refunds depend on cost allotments, there may be eternal arguments over which cost to include in the analysis. Furthermore, doctors are non likely to travel along with cost system alterations as new cost systems such as ABC may give infirmaries more discretion to maximise the cost reimbursement watercourse from the doctor. Conversely altering to ABC is easier if reimbursements are non physician cost based. In amount, it is of import for infirmaries to see the bets of the doctor and their support towards cost systems in the procedure of cost system polish. ( Eldenburg 1997 )

The fact that specific issues of the sector are more important for advancing cost system alteration may explicate why infirmaries typically lag behind other houses. Installing ABC seemingly requires a different attack in infirmaries. For illustration, the alteration of attitude of the doctor, put ining new reimbursement strategies may necessitate clip that can decelerate down the procedure of altering towards ABC. We nevertheless do non picture factors of other industries as non of import. Hospital specific factors may be the first stairss of cost system alteration, while general drivers may go extremely of import in ulterior phases ( e.g. this applied to a certain extent for the general driver cost variableness ) . ( Eldenburg 1997 )

The quality of IT -systems, top direction support, the nexus with public presentation and quality steps, and the sensed complexness may all be important factors in the procedure of ABC to turn to a to the full operational system. Unfortunately, we merely had a limited figure of infirmaries that adapted their cost system via ABC. Therefore, it is hard to acknowledge farther divisions in the type and the degree of ABC-systems within this group. We nevertheless leave this absorbing speculation for future research.

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Activity Based Costing And Hospital Cost Efficiency Accounting. (2016, Nov 15). Retrieved from