Intelligent Automation Can Change the Trajectory of the Nursing Crisis
In today’s environment, nursing resources are a precious commodity that must be protected, nurtured, and fully leveraged. Health systems are rethinking how they can achieve operational excellence and prioritize strategies that optimize staffing resources while also removing the barriers and bottlenecks that inhibit nurses’ ability to efficiently deliver patient care. Hospital IQ has partnered with health systems to achieve the mission critical task of aligning beds, patients, and staff by delivering technology solutions that support their performance excellence goals.
Enterprise staffing model delivers a holistic solution
After managing staffing the same way for years – or even decades – many health systems are discovering new staffing solutions that enable better staffing workflows. Safe, effective staffing has a profound impact on patient care, staff well-being, and hospital operations. Simply put, better staffing leads to meaningful improvements across the entire organization.
A new staffing model that delivers clinical, financial, and operational benefits – including many of the things that nurses said would improve their work environment and morale – is enterprise staffing. Enterprise staffing is a holistic approach to staffing that leverages AI-driven predictive analytics, workflow automation, and streamlined communication to focus on collaboration, data-driven staffing decisions, and proactive issue resolution across the enterprise. Health systems manage their staff based on the needs of the enterprise, instead of looking only at the individual facility or unit. That leads to more balanced coverage across the entire system, which increases the number of patients who can be served and reduces the need for bed closures.
The use of new staffing strategies helped health systems manage pandemic patient surges, and many nursing leaders feel that new staffing methodologies remain a critical go-forward strategy. A longitudinal AONL survey found that nursing leaders feel that the adoption of new staffing models is the temporary advancement that will be most important to maintain beyond COVID-19, with 37 percent of respondents choosing this option in August, 2021 – a significant increase over the 28 percent who chose this in July, 2020.
Streamline the daily staff allocation process
By integrating with existing workforce management and other applicable systems, the Hospital IQ solution gathers data to provide increased visibility to unit-level needs, staff considerations (such as seniority, role, special considerations like light duty, no COVID, or orientee; and last float indicator), and available resources. This streamlines the daily resource planning process.
A system that automates daily staffing workflows and streamlines communications enables charge nurses to quickly specify their staffing needs for the day. The staffing office no longer needs to make numerous phone calls or round on the units multiple times a day just to determine what the needs are. As a result, the staffing office and nursing leaders spend less time allocating staff each day and are confident that the staffing deployment plan that is activated at the start of the shift is optimal based on the staff available. The streamlined processes free up valuable time – time that nursing leaders can use to focus on the needs of their patients and staff and the staffing office can use to resolve future staffing issues.
Improve 7-day schedule management process
To create future staffing plans that align with patient care needs, the staffing office and unit managers must have the ability to see and plan for future staffing challenges across the organization. The Hospital IQ platform provides predictions of future demand that give nursing leaders visibility to staffing variances days in advance, allowing them to proactively resolve staffing gaps and misalignments.
By providing the staffing office and unit managers with the insights they need to align nursing staff to patient demand days in advance, they can be more strategic about how they optimize available staff. Decisions about when to flex staff from low census to high census days, use staff who have not met their commitments, offer incentive pay or overtime, and rely on float staff or external resources are made deliberately and driven by data.
Staffing process improvements with far-reaching positive impacts
When asked what must be done to improve the poor work environment that leads to burnout and turnover, 39 percent of the survey respondents chose more organized, consistent staffing processes.
An enterprise approach to staffing enables essential process improvements that create a more productive workplace, making it easier for nurses to deliver care effectively: