The COVID-19 pandemic has created a dilemma for most healthcare organizations in which expenses are skyrocketing while revenues are falling. Hospital leaders have clamped down on spending in a way that has never been seen, while IT resources are constantly strained due to ever-changing government reporting requirements. In short, the general theme has become no time, no money, and unless it’s about COVID, no dice.

But there have been exceptions. Some organizations have looked to Hospital IQ and asked us to move even faster and implement our solutions remotely as soon as possible because they realize the cost of waste and inefficiency now have a much more significant impact and a lack of innovation in the face of a crisis could lead to further issues. These organizations understand that now is the time to challenge the status quo, even though other hospitals haven’t, because COIVID-19 has changed their world forever.

In working with these particular customers, three themes have been consistent across the board:

Cost Reduction

With the loss of revenue caused by COVID-19, hospital leaders must find additional ways to reduce costs and become hyper-efficient as their business starts to shift to the new normal. Labor productivity and costs have been targeted as a prime area of improvement. In order to manage to productivity targets and improve the management labor costs, nursing leaders see the need to proactively align their staff to patient demand days in advance to ensure maximum efficiency in the delivery of quality care. Additionally, they need to be more strategic in the use of overtime and incentive pay and agency staff to ensure that it is used as an exception and not the rule, which can be achieved when a proactive staffing approach is put in place.

Transparency and Visibility

Knowing what’s happening across the enterprise at all times is imperative. With real-time visibility of the availability of both core staff and the float pool across the enterprise, as well as indications of units that have the biggest need for nurses, the staffing office is able to quickly allocate and deploy nurses faster and with more accuracy than ever before. This transparency allows nursing leaders to spend less time focused on staffing and ensures that units are properly staffed as early as possible, both of which result in better patient care.

Flexibility

COVID-19 created a major imbalance across the nursing units, with med/surg units experiencing low census while COVID-specific units and ICUs dealt with high census. This dynamic forced hospital leaders to not only view their bed capacity differently, but also the distribution of their nursing staff. In units that require a high level of nursing specialization with a fixed number of nurses, nursing leaders were faced with the potential for extended high nurse to patient ratios, which would compromise both patient care and staff satisfaction.

Using the visibility offered by Hospital IQ, staff was deployed in novel ways that distributed the nursing tasks across several nurses, enabling those with specialized skills to focus on their specialty and leveraging others to perform more general nursing tasks. Pharmacists distributed meds within a unit, anesthesiologists and CRNAs were called on to ventilate patients, and “tasking” nurses performed more general activities. The overall impact enabled all nurses to be more productive while limiting burnout at the same time.

COVID-19 doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon, and as our mitigation efforts and knowledge about the virus continue to improve, hospitals need to transform the way they run their operations to be more proactive, agile, and flexible. Relying on previous methods will only result in additional waste and inefficiency. The risk is simply too great to wait. Hospital IQ’s Staffing solution will help you improve quality of care, increase staff satisfaction, and manage labor costs, which will help you manage your way through the uncertainties associated with COVID-19 with more visibility, transparency, and trust and emerge more efficient and effective than ever before.

 

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