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How One Health System Slashed OT Costs

Chelsea Rice, for HealthLeaders Media, September 30, 2013

Access to real-time scheduling data helped one New York state health system cut overtime hours in half in just one year.

It happens at every hospital. A nurse at the end of her shift is asked to pick up the shift of a colleague, who has just called in sick. The nurse is tired, having worked three back-to-back 12 shifts, but agrees, eager for the overtime pay.

Unfortunately, the nurse manager has no way to quickly determine that four other nurses could have fit the additional shift into their schedules without pushing into overtime.

A hospital's labor force is the largest piece of its budget and improper management and scheduling can have a large impact on a hospital's bottom line.

Ellis Medicine, a 450-bed health system based in Schenectady, NY, empowered its managers with real-time scheduling information to effectively and efficiently staff their units. And by providing the same up-to-the-hour scheduling information to every employee, Ellis extended intelligence on staffing issues system-wide.

"Unscheduled absences are a challenge for all organizations. What's key is to know ahead of time what our schedule is, where people are, and when they will be here," said Joseph Giansante, vice president of human resources.

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