Modernizing our approach to managing the shrinking healthcare workforce

December 18, 2018

With healthcare facing a workforce shortage—ranging from physicians to non-clinical staff and everyone in between—it’s more important than ever to optimize and modernize workforce management. In this new article on RevCycleIntelligence.com, “Optimizing Healthcare Workforce Management for High-Value Care,” the authors outline some approaches to addressing this reality. With an aging population, demand for skilled workers will increase. And with a shortfall of skilled workers projected to enter the market, labor costs will increase. This makes operational efficiency more vital than ever before.

How do we tackle this huge and looming problem? The article says “To cut labor costs while maintaining high-quality care delivery, healthcare organizations should be improving and modernizing their recruiting, scheduling, and retention methods to establish a comprehensive and sustainable healthcare workforce management strategy.”

Recruitment and Retention

For recruiting, the article calls for arming human resources departments with strategies surrounding open, comfortable communication methods that establish relationships. This can mean, in part, taking advantage of new technologies like texting, which can help boost authentic interactions. This casual communication platform can ease the communication burden to gain a better understanding of the candidates and how they interact. For retention, employers can work on reducing turnover by implementing formal employee appreciation programs and better leadership-employee engagement strategies. Again, technology was part of the recommended mix. Employers should enable their “existing workforce to work at the top of their skills through technology.”

Optimizing staff scheduling

The section of the article which resonated most strongly with us was the recommendation to use analytics to optimize scheduling. This concept is the foundation of Delta Brain’s AI-powered staff scheduling solution: we know that proper scheduling is “critical for healthcare organizations looking to reduce labor costs and improve care quality.” Most scheduling systems offer shared calendars which let people track their schedules, but lack the “smarts” to automatically build complex schedules or dynamically adapt to last-minute staffing changes. Our platform uses artificial intelligence to both automate and optimize these complex workflows so healthcare organizations can operate more efficiently. This means that staff—from physicians and nurses to non-clinical employees—can be scheduled appropriately, based on any number of constraints or regulations.

Improving patient and staff satisfaction

Because the healthcare workforce is a scarce resource, improving staff utilization has a big impact on the patient experience. For example, understaffing in the face of a surge in demand means that patient wait times will go up and people will go somewhere else. This is bad for the patient, represents missed revenue and creates a bad perception of the organization. On the other hand, overstaffing means having idle staff and wasted overhead. In the situation where these professionals are contracted, they may go work somewhere else where they are better utilized.

About Delta Brain

To succeed, a medical practice must do two things very well. First, they must forecast the expected demand for medical services and second they must optimize the deployment of their scarce resources (employees) to best meet that uncertain demand.

Delta Brain uses sophisticated machine learning techniques on a healthcare organization’s own data to understand the variations in demand for various medical services. We feed those forecasts into our AI-based optimization algorithms to drive the most informed decisions around resource utilization problems such as employee scheduling.  We are fully HIPAA compliant and cloud-based, and have a typical integration time with your systems of 30 days or less with minimal requirements from your clinical IT team.

 

Parting Thoughts

Revcycle Intelligence concludes its article like this: “Healthcare workforce management hinges on each part of the puzzle running smoothly. Recruiting, scheduling, and retention are all staples of a healthcare workforce management strategy, so optimizing each component will ensure healthcare organizations are developing a comprehensive and sustainable staffing strategy.” It’s time to look to the future when it comes to managing your healthcare workforce.

For the complete article see: https://revcycleintelligence.com/features/optimizing-healthcare-workforce-management-for-high-value-care

 

Delta Brain

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