The ability to choose what day a unit manager is short-staffed may not seem like a good thing, but it actually can be. Given today’s nursing shortages, most healthcare organizations know they are understaffed and are doing their best to recruit and hire. While predictive analytics can help staffing, many leaders in these organizations are skeptical about using it to help because they feel it will just tell them what they already know; they don’t have enough staff. Instead, organizations are forced to do their best with what they have, using incentive pay, overtime or agency staff.

On-Demand Webinar: How MercyOne Des Moines Used Predictive Analytics to Optimize Staffing Practices

But, what if organizations could…

  • Know in advance where and when the shortages were going to occur?
  • See the availability of the float pool to cover that future challenge?
  • See if other units are going to be short-staffed on the same day?

Would they …

  • Move staff from other days of that week where other units have better coverage and float pool resources are available?
  • Communicate more effectively with the other unit leaders, including the staffing office, to make sure each unit’s shortage lands on a different day?

Would this result in …

  • Less staffing in crisis mode?
  • Better alignment of the staffing plan to reality, enabling better patient care?
  • Reduction premium labor costs (i.e. incentive pay, overtime, and agency staff)?
  • Less floating of core staff resulting in improved staff satisfaction?
  • Fewer hours to manage the current shift’s staffing needs?

The answer is “Yes.” With the insights into and transparency of future staffing needs at their disposal, Hospital IQ clients experience the value of proactive staffing. For instance, one of our clients that uses our Staffing solution has created a culture of multi-unit staffing collaboration, which reduced core staff floating, decreased allocation of incentive pay by 70% and improved staff utilization. These results were achieved with less effort from the staffing office and unit nursing leadership, which has furthered proactive staffing possibilities and improved patient care.

Prior to using Hospital IQ, the staffing office spent much of their day operating in crisis mode due to a lack of a clear and accurate picture of unit resources. This created a complicated, stressful and time-consuming process that led to a reactive environment where unit directors were constantly scrambling for more resources and using both incentive pay and overtime to cover staff needs across their inpatient units.

By partnering with Hospital IQ and implementing a solution that streamlined near-term schedule development, our client’s staffing office gained back over 70 man-hours per week to allocate toward proactive staffing. Also, by eliminating the time spent working with the unit managers to validate the accuracy of the current schedules, the staffing office was able to allocate the float pool and make multi-unit decisions in less than 15-minutes, which had an immediate impact on patient care.

By using Hospital IQ, the staffing office and unit leaders were able to see the impact of future census on individual units and the big picture across the hospital, which jump-started the culture of multi-unit staffing collaboration. With a multi-unit view of future staffing needs, unit leaders can choose which days to strategically be short-staffed by shifting resources from days where they can rely on float pool staff to high-census days (across the hospital) where float pool staff would likely not be available.

This process enabled core staff to stay in their home units more often, reduces the need for overtime and incentive pay, and also allows for a longer time-block allocation of float pool resources. Additionally, the confidence gained from this process has enabled unit leaders to proactively release staff that would have, in the past, remained on the unit for fear of unforeseen census increases.

Today, our client is proactively monitoring and managing staffing up to seven days in advance, virtually eliminating “staffing in crisis mode” and is expanding the solution to Maternal/Mother Baby and Intensive care units. The process has improved unit leaders’ ability to be more involved with patient care and has had a positive impact on their caregiving workforce.

At Hospital IQ, we realize the way to make a positive change for our clients is to give them time back so they focus more of their time proactively addressing future needs. We also understand that sustained change comes from solutions that make the process of providing care easier. The example above shows how both can be accomplished.

Interested in learning more on how a real client did this? Check out our On-Demand Webinar: How MercyOne Des Moines Used Predictive Analytics to Optimize Staffing Practices


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