Healthcare organizations are constantly looking for new ways to improve workforce optimization. By utilizing healthcare data analytics, new strategies can be found and implemented to improve health systems around the country. GE Healthcare recently published an article entitled “Top Workforce Management Initiatives: For Quality of Care Improvement and Labor Cost Reduction.” They surveyed almost 300 healthcare executives and learned about the successful strategies that are helped to reduce costs and improve patient quality care.
The first initiative the report discussed was productivity, with 42% of healthcare executives ranking it as the top workforce management initiative that they found to be the most successful. The biggest challenge of implementing a productivity initiative involves using data analytics to their highest potential. The report cites the Anderson Regional Medical Center as a healthcare organization that successfully utilized their productivity metrics. They suggested a few tips for other organizations to achieve this success: Talk to managers and staff about why the productivity initiative is taking place, clearly communicate the project objectives, and make sure cost and quality of the metrics are considered. They also suggested to work with managers to have a clear understanding of the metrics, and give decision-makers the data they need to analyze that information for the benefit of the healthcare organization.
The next initiative is acuity-based staffing. Acuity-based staffing considers the schedules of the physicians and staff and creates a schedule that ensures all roles have been filled. Healthcare systems are moving towards acuity-based staffing for several reasons. Staffing decisions need to be made objectively based on patient need and staff skills; decisions can’t be made just because “that’s what we’ve always done.” Staffing also needs to be responsive to real-time changes, and adjustments need to be done proactively.
Monitoring and reducing overtime pay is another initiative that helps to improve workforce optimization. By combining time and attendance data with the scheduled hours of employees, healthcare organizations can project the overtime that might occur, and adjust as needed. Make sure your organization focuses on the outliers. The article states that a large percentage of overtime is occurring in just a few units. By understanding the issues within those specific units, strategies can be created to overcomes the specific problems.
Keeping track of skill levels and competencies is another way to utilize the data for success. This means that staffing plans can be based on the right group of employees with the applicable skill levels to cover the right shifts. Over time, decisions can be made to determine how to recruit, retain and develop a workforce with the right skills to meet the current and future demands. By tracking degrees, certifications, and skills, healthcare organizations can easily fill staffing needs and have a diverse set of skill sets during a single shift. The final successful initiative is using internal resources to fill open shifts in a way that would not compromise the quality of patient care. By analyzing data that reflects patient care needs and staffing gaps, healthcare organizations can use that information to create programs that can solve those issues. Examples of those types of programs include utilizing part-time employees, creating a float-pool and using per diem staff to fill the gaps in a schedule. This is a more cost-effective measure that improves employee morale, reduces incidental overtime and provides a consistent scheduling solution across entire healthcare organizations.
The healthcare workforce is an important aspect that connects the clinical and financial goals of a healthcare organization. By analyzing data on any of the 5 successful initiatives, these organizations can reduce costs and promote a healthier and happier work environment. Organizations can implement an automated scheduling solution like Momentum Scheduling to implement these initiatives by: