At a shareholders meeting last year, Walmart announced it had found a way to save $30 million. The savings didn’t come from contract negotiations, big data analytics, machine learning, or any other sexy buzzword. The $30 million in savings came from a stepping stool. More accurately, the savings stem from how Walmart’s employees use the stepping stool.
To maximize the use of space in a truck, Walmart expects its workers to pack inventory as close to the top as possible, hence the need for a stepping stool. However, the old stepping stools were bulky and heavy, meaning the employees didn’t always use them. By redesigning the stool, making it lighter and easier to carry around, Walmart ensured more people actually used it. More people using it translates to higher utilization of space. Higher utilization of transport space translates into lower marginal costs and – at Walmart’s scale – $30 million in savings.
Certainly, most hospitals aren’t the size of Walmart, but they’re still surprisingly large. Even small hospitals employ several hundred people; large hospitals can easily have employees numbering in the thousands or tens of thousands. Any organization with that many moving parts can witness a snowball effect from tweaks that make life a little bit better.
One of the areas where we’ve seen small changes accumulate into an outsized impact is in hospital staffing. At one of our customers, staff supervisors typically spent hours every day collecting information on who was scheduled to work, which units were short-staffed, and which units had low census. By aggregating data in a single, easily-accessible location, the staff supervisors could reclaim a significant chunk of time not just once or twice, but every day.
Similarly, at another hospital, several staff members spent at least an hour most mornings collecting data for a quick bed huddle meeting. By thoughtfully developing our platform to address a common workflow, we automated the creation and delivery of this report. Over time, the minutes and hours dedicated to these types of regular tasks add up. And instead of spending time collecting data just to get a picture of what’s going on, nurses can focus on what they do best: taking care of patients.
Small changes at hospitals can save not only time, but also money. By integrating accurate census forecasts with our Workforce solution, we helped one of our clients better plan and staff to patient demand. Consequently, they were able to reduce the need for incentive pay. Although the payment to any one nurse might not seem like a lot – $100 here, $200 there – again, they add up over time. A major reduction in incentive pay can translate into savings of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Thanks to the comprehensive Hospital IQ platform, hospitals and health systems are empowered to make these small but powerful adjustments. Like Walmart’s stepping stool, our solutions helps these organizations realize an outsized effect at scale and our predictive analytics help them stay one step ahead. By using Hospital IQ to focus on small changes, hospitals can achieve big wins.