The healthcare workforce is under tremendous strain and something has to change.
Burnout and turnover are at all time highs, especially in nursing, and it’s forcing healthcare organizations to rely on contract labor to fill the gaps, creating administrative overload and driving up premium labor spend.
So, what’s one of the causes behind this crisis? Healthcare organizations are trying to schedule and manage the most sophisticated, specialized, and complex workforce in the world using outdated, generic, and disconnected systems.
It’s vital to have healthcare-specific technology in place that can support the unique needs of all the people taking care of patients - simply, efficiently, and cost effectively. Here are four questions to ask of your nurse and staff workforce management solution to ensure it’s meeting your organization’s needs.
- Does your solution help you better optimize your workforce and labor costs?
Although adequate nurse staffing is essential for quality and cost-effective care, constant changes in supply and demand disrupt the balance. With unexpected callouts and surges in census, filling schedule needs can be a daunting task while optimizing staffing levels. It’s no wonder nurse leaders struggle to effectively deploy existing staff and instead rack up overtime and premium pay costs, or lean heavily on travel nurses to cover shortages.
With an effective, healthcare-specific solution, optimizing your workforce and building better schedules is more feasible. But in the intra-day moment, efficient and cost-effective scheduling requires levels of visibility that most organizations don’t have today. Think of how effectively you could manage your labor costs if you had complete visibility of all of your resources system-wide. In a scenario where it would be feasible to float nurses across locations or facilities, what would this level of complete visibility offer you? You’d have visibility into who has the required skills and qualifications to fill a shift. You’d have visibility into who’s in overtime. You’d know exactly how to make use of every single nurse that raised their hands as available for at least part of the shift you needed to fill. You’d have complete visibility into how to optimize your workforce.
- Can you easily analyze premium labor spend to see if spending trends are meeting strategic goals?
There likely isn’t a healthcare leader out there who isn’t trying to better understand the true costs of overtime, contract labor, and non-overtime shift incentives. Your workforce management solution should help you proactively manage and assess key metrics and targets to make data-informed decisions for both near and long-term workforce planning based on past and current demand and staffing trends.
- Does your solution prioritize mobile accessibility and offer flexible scheduling options?
Nurses and staff not only want, but need (and deserve!) a solution that provides more flexibility and work-life balance, and the right scheduling solution can do just that. Does your current solution provide self-scheduling and self-serve convenience? Is it mobile-first – allowing nurses to access their schedules right in the palm of their hands? Does it have rules-based shift swapping and requests? Do your nurses and staff currently have real-time communications and notifications? Can you easily match supply with demand and seamlessly float nurses? If your answer to any of these questions was no, it might be time to reevaluate how effective your current solution is in supporting the needs of the modern workforce.
- Does your solution have healthcare-specific time and attendance capabilities to accurately track time and complex pay rules?
Accurately tracking hours and applying them to payroll has proven to be highly time-consuming and laborious. Between varying compensation differentials, pay scales, performance pay, and complexities in schedules, administrators have their work cut out for them. What was already a daunting process is quickly exacerbated by manual documentation, disparate platforms, and a lack of time tracking and payroll information accuracy.
Integrity of time tracking and payroll starts with the schedule. Without a platform that presents a visible, centralized, single source of truth, organizations lack accurate and holistic views of time, location, and detail of shifts worked. With automated scheduling that feeds into a healthcare-specific time and attendance platform, you can better manage schedule complexities, mitigate excessive overtime, navigate rigorous and restrictive healthcare legislation, manage complex pay structures, reduce pay errors, and more seamlessly process payroll.
Healthcare is facing unprecedented challenges, and it's clear we need innovative solutions to meet these challenges directly. Modern workforce management technology comes into play here - you can gain real-time visibility into demand, proactively manage premium labor spend, offer schedule flexibility, and accurately track and manage complex time and pay rules. It's not just about saving time and money - it's about investing in your workforce and ultimately improving patient care. By choosing healthcare-specific solutions, you can ensure that you're giving your nurses and staff the support they need to deliver the best possible care.