Hospitals in the Tampa Bay, Fla., USA, area tripled profits in 2009, largely by cutting expenses. That puts the local hospitals among a growing number of businesses nationally that are focused on controlling expenses to boost income, as the recession cut into revenue growth.

One example is BayCare Health System, which has focused on Six Sigma, a management methodology to cut errors and minimize variability, for the past four years. Emphasis on quality improvement and efficiency, such as putting processes in place to cut do-over lab tests or X-rays, improves expense control while also making patients happier and safer, said Isaac Mallah, president and CEO of St. Joseph’s-Baptist Health System, part of BayCare.

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