Atebion is the name of a true modelling tool. It uses a powerful
engine in the background to complete calculations and utilises a familiar Windows interface for ease of use.
People who have been developing costing software for a long time conceived Atebion and it draws on this experience
and the lessons learnt with the old DOS “DataTree” software. Atebion
is flexible, powerful and future proof. Above all by its use of special techniques,
it provides a true decision support tool.
We have fully developed what we believe is a balance between simplicity and the need to have a future proof
costing model that can handle any conceivable changes. The same standard costing model may be used to cost most private businesses
and the public sector but to keep this document short and simple we shall concentrates only on Pathology and follow the NHS guidelines for costing.
The core-costing model follows our practice for minimising errors and validation. To assist the user, macros
are used throughout to add Cost Recovery Centres (Workstations), Products (Test/Processes) and Basic Resources (Staff, Equipment,
Overheads and Consumables).
Also note that additional models such as contract monitoring and benchmarking may be combined at any time.
First of all we need to make sure you understand some basics so in simple terms:
Cost – How much your finance department pay to produce a pathology result.
Price – How much your customers will be charged for the result.
Profit or Loss – The difference between Cost and Price.
WHAT IS THE COST OF A PATHOLOGY
The cost of a test / process depends on how you apportion the cost of
your resources. Even following the NHS guidelines different hospitals can apportion resources differently so you can’t
really compare on cost unless you understand the limitations.
Your reason for costing should dictate the detail you need to go down
to and you have to understand the information needed and the time available for the task. This is what we call the Modeller’s
Balancing Act with the Identified Trade-Offs.
Below we have listed some apportionment methods to help you understand the variations in apportionment types
used to come up with a different cost:
- Total budget divided by total workload, gives a cost but not very accurate if we treat every test / process
the same. We are saying here that everything has the same cost, uses the same resources in equal portions.
- Split the budget:
- Resources apportioned by Workload
- Resources apportioned by WELCAN (Outdated Weighted unit, the longer it takes to complete the higher the value).
Gives different banded
cost depending on the WELCAN value of each test/process.
- Split the budget between workstations:
- Resources apportioned to each workstation first by square foot, number of staff, etc., (following the NHS costing
guidelines), followed by apportioning by Workload and WELCAN at the workstation level. Now we are really starting to cost
and able to play limited “What ifs”.
- Build from the bottom up. Each resource that goes into each individual test is apportioned
as accurately as possible to avoid any cross subsidisation e.g. individual grades of staff apportioned by minutes they spend
on each test/process/batch, individual consumables allocated to each individual test/process allowing for wastage, equipment
directly recovered only from individual test/process used for, etc., This model can cope with advanced resource “What
ifs” such as adding, deleting or editing a single contract and will show the resource and corresponding cost implications
BUT remember the Modeller’s Balancing Act with the Identified Trade-Offs, you will have to compromise.
Each method above or combination will come up with a different cost so
you need to decide who is going to act on the data provided and what are the consequences of getting it wrong and what is
the benefit of getting it right.
Within practical terms the Atebion Costing Model allows almost unlimited
apportionment methods for all resources BUT you have to be pragmatic and think about the return on investment. For day one
you may decide to apportion cost only to workstations and then these cost are quickly apportioned to each test/process/batch
by workload and WELCAN without touching the individual test/process/batch form. The beauty about our standard costing model
is that in your own time you increase the detail.
A different questionnaire for each discipline will be given upon receipt of an order number. These questionnaires
may be completed before or after training. If before then the training may be on your own individual models. The detail for
each resource is up to you.
For each workstation, in simple terms for day one you may decide to give:
The name of each test / process with achievable workload and WELCAN unit used. It would be ideal if this information
comes as a report file straight from your departmental system for easy updating the contract monitoring sub-model each month.
Staff, split into their grades then split into whole time equivalents for each Workstation, with some also going
to overheads as management and administration.
Equipment, Identified individually where necessary and what portion recovered from each Workstation/test.
Overheads for day one split only by Workload
and complexity unit (WELCAN or other agreed unit), if the data exist these could be apportioned to workstations or we could
use the NSH costing manual guide-lines to the letter.
The core-costing model has two main different types of Folders
(sheets) that we have named Lists and Forms.
There are three different List Sheets with a p, r or c pre-fix as follows:
p-list – lists of product records
for easy editing workloads and constructing multiple contracts using a single p-list sheet for each contract.
r-list – lists of resource record
sheets for Staff, Overheads and Equipment for easy editing the cost to be recovered, the cost categories, resource groups
and a quick option to include or exclude each value in the next calculation.
c-list – lists of consumable
records for easy editing of consumable properties. A different c-list may be used for groups of consumables or for different
and two different Form Sheets with a r or p pre-fix as follows:
r-form - resource description form, used for individual resource records or group resource records from the
r-list that need to be apportioned by a different apportionment method to workstations and/or products/processes. Resource
forms may also feed other resource forms or apportion cost or part of, direct to Sites and Cost Recovery Centres (workstations).
p-form – product description form, used for building test/process profiles and sub-product profiles by
combining sub-products, resource forms and individual records from the consumable c-list.
below shows the Folder Segment with the structure of folders in a core-costing model.
Like a file management system, these branches can be opened to display their corresponding child folders.