Targeting Better Outcomes & Patient Satisfaction Through Workforce Management Initiatives
April 24, 2015
Workforce management and the pursuit of productivity have formed a consistent pain point for hospitals for several years. The Affordable Care Act has only exacerbated the problem, increasing the demand on providers as the number of insured grows and the bar continues to rise on quality of care. According to a recent HealthLeaders Media Council survey, workforce productivity and acuity-based staffing will continue to be top priorities this year. Karlene Kerfoot, PhD, chief clinical integration officer at API Healthcare, says the survey results indicate a shift taking place as workforce management initiatives are expected to deliver more than reduced labor costs.
Eight years ago, executive and board leaders at Sentara Healthcare in Norfolk, Virginia, threw down a strategic gauntlet: It was time to make a big shift and focus on new growth. Since then, the nonprofit health system has been ramping up its presence in its home state of Virginia and continues to evaluate opportunities for partnerships in other states. “Sentara’s evolution as an IDN is similar to many other health systems nationally in that our delivery system was largely centered in one geographic region,” says Megan Perry, corporate vice president of mergers and acquisitions. “In 2006, as we looked at the national landscape, we realized that in order to meet the needs of the current communities we served, as well as make the necessary investments in technology and innovation, that we needed to continue to grow.” Between 2010 and 2014, Sentara merged with five hospitals and has entered into new partnerships with Ohio Health, in Columbus, Ohio, as well as with Huntsville Hospital Health System in Alabama. Today, Sentara encompasses more than 100 sites of care, including 12 acute care hospitals, five medical groups, and a health plan; it offers postacute, outpatient, and urgent care services, among others.