Nine Features to Consider When Evaluating Workforce Management Solutions
Workforce challenges are an ongoing crisis for healthcare organizations. Staffing shortages, clinician burnout, low job satisfaction, and high turnover—everything is piling up.
The good news is that many of these problems can be solved by adopting the right solution to optimize your provider scheduling. Deliberate carefully to find one that benefits your organization with the features outlined below.
Support Provider Preferences
Manual scheduling processes demand far too much of your staff’s attention while leaving your schedule vulnerable to mistakes that can inflame some causes of burnout.
You need a system that delivers the best possible schedules so schedulers can take back their time and shift their focus toward any number of other important priorities, such as finding ways to improve the patient experience.
But the best possible schedules can only happen when providers have greater visibility into and control over the process to ensure that their preferences can be accounted for. When that box is checked, you’re much more likely to get optimized, equitable schedules.
Providers also need the ability to swap shifts and make changes directly from their phones or laptops. And they need to see those changes in real time. This removes the chance of miscommunication or uncertainty about who’s working a particular shift.
When providers have this level of access, it boosts their job satisfaction and has the power to substantially improve how they perceive their role within your organization.
But without it, your scheduling team is stuck trying to accommodate each request and create the best possible schedule for everyone—an exceptionally tall task. Providers are bound to get frustrated, feeling like their day-to-day lives are at the mercy of a tedious and outdated process. This sense of helplessness can contribute substantially toward feelings of burnout.
Assist with Daily OR Case Assignments
Surgeries are likely one of your most significant revenue drivers, which means optimizing the OR case schedule is a must. Errors, delays, and canceled cases can be devastating for a number of reasons. But that’s exactly what you get with manual scheduling processes.
Furthermore, anesthesiologists should not have to spend hours piecing these assignments together after full workdays. The impact on their well-being is too substantial.
Instead, you need a system that automates the case assignment process while giving anesthesiologists more control and more schedule visibility. This creates the opportunity for increased job satisfaction while decreasing burnout and turnover rates.
Match Support Staff Needs with Provider Schedules
Your ancillary team struggles with their scheduling, too—just like providers. They need transparent schedules that accommodate their preferences, balanced shifts and call distribution, and a centralized request calendar with instant approvals and real-time updates.
Integrating these capabilities with your communication system and offering them on a single platform will provide you with faster, more accurate communication workflows that are free from the point-and-shoot efforts attributable to manual scheduling processes that often leave people in the dark about who’s working and for how long.
Accelerate Speed to Care
It’s hard to speed up care delivery if your team is still sending out pages and waiting for return calls. It simply takes too long, even when the right provider is contacted the first time. This can be especially troubling in critical, time-sensitive situations when the risk of patient harm is more substantial.
As we’ve mentioned several times, manual scheduling processes are also prone to inaccuracies, leaving the door open for providers to be contacted when they aren’t covering. These mistakes can have a significant impact on their job satisfaction, and they can also be detrimental to patient outcomes
Schedules should be shown in real time across your organization, so everyone always has the most up-to-date information. This allows the right provider to be contacted almost immediately every time.
Reduce the Technology Burden
Technology solutions can pile up quickly. It’s easy to get buried beneath an oversized tech stack that brings more headaches than benefits.
You’re better off streamlining your IT portfolio with one scheduling solution that provides transparency throughout your system while increasing efficiency, minimizing errors, and reducing costs with integrations that improve operations and clinical workflows.
In other words, find a solution that reduces both your technology burden and the effort required for oversight and management.
Drive Value with Workforce Analytics and Reporting
Effective decision making and meaningful progress are often fueled by data-driven insights. Without this information at hand during the scheduling process, costly mistakes are more likely and often have negative impacts on staff wellness, resource utilization, operational efficiency, patient access, and patient care.
But armed with the right information, you can make your provider schedules more tailored, balanced, and equitable, while measuring your progress along the way.
Custom views and reports from an enterprise-wide perspective allow senior decision makers to grasp a more holistic view of the organization rather than gathering data from various siloed solutions that don’t always provide the insight needed to make informed business decisions.
When your scheduling and payroll systems don’t communicate with each other, payment processing errors are bound to happen.
But you can’t allow that. Paying providers accurately and on time is too important—it’s a matter of basic courtesy and respect
Make sure these systems are tightly linked so you always know who worked each shift, regardless of any last-minute changes. This ensures providers are paid accurately and on time, avoiding mistakes that can waste thousands of dollars and countless administrative hours while harming your reputation with providers.
Adoption of Technology
At some point, you’ve likely experienced a go-live that suffered from poor change management and fell short of expectations. It happens a lot.
This may sound a bit obvious, but the only way to realize the benefits of a solution is to make sure your team actually uses it. That’s why it’s crucial to find a solution that uses a proven process to maximize adoption.
Learn about the deployment & adoption strategy for any workforce wellness solution under consideration, keeping an eye out for options that account for team members’ tenure and experience. And make sure you get proper support not just for a successful deployment, but for ongoing optimization assistance that will propel your organization for years to come.
The right model will vary from deployment to deployment, but perhaps the best way to familiarize people with new technology is to offer each person a one-on-one introduction to the new platform, complete with customized training and the chance to input their preferences and ask questions.
In-App Provider Wellness Survey
With clinicians leaving healthcare in record numbers, those who stay often struggle to hang on. Among other levers that can be pulled, you need to support them with tools that identify harmful scheduling patterns and allow you to take proactive measures to counter the effects of burnout.
This includes reaching out to your team periodically to keep a pulse on their feelings and satisfaction levels. When you understand their perspectives, you can offer the support they need to bolster well-being and reduce costly churn.
When it comes to choosing the right workforce management solution for your healthcare organization, you’ll quickly learn that not all are created equal. Look for one that offers the most impactful benefits, and consider the consequences if the solution you pick is missing some critical functionality.
Lightning Bolt is a single-platform, full-spectrum solution for all of your workforce management needs. Download our white paper to discover how better scheduling can improve workforce management for your organization.