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Introduction

The people who work in healthcare organizations are the beating heart of the healthcare system. Nurses, physicians, technicians, therapists and the like - these professionals are the folks we depend on to deliver care, compassion, and healing to patients every day. However, effective and efficient healthcare workforce management is riddled with challenges. From overwhelming administrative tasks to data silos and lack of visibility, workforce management often becomes an obstacle to providing high-quality patient care.

How can administrative teams like yours master healthcare operations management and make a real difference? That’s the question this guide hopes to answer.

We believe that through the implementation of centralized and collaborative platforms, healthcare organizations can transform their healthcare workforce operations to deliver excellence in patient care while also keeping the people they depend on happy. After all, when there’s a slip in morale, things can go from bad to worse very quickly.

In this post, we'll explore the pillars of healthcare workforce management and how new technologies are driving meaningful transformation.

Want to skip ahead? Here are the 5 sections we’ll be covering:

01. 

The Importance of Healthcare Workforce Management

What is the role of workforce planning in healthcare? It’s the driving force behind patient care and health outcomes. It’s important to ensure departments are adequately staffed and that patients are cared for in a timely fashion.

The problem? Managing such a vast and diverse workforce comes with monumental challenges. 

From physician shortages to clinician burnout, healthcare organizations grapple with complex workforce issues that demand efficient management practices. 

Several factors underscore the growing importance of strategic workforce management in healthcare:

Shortage of Healthcare Professionals

Time Magazine reported, “Data published in 2020 by the Association of American Medical Colleges estimates that the U.S. could see a shortage of 54,100 to 139,000 physicians by 2033.”

The unfortunate reality is that industry groups are projecting shortages as demand continues to outpace supply. These shortfalls directly impact patient access and quality of care. Strategic workforce planning and talent acquisition are crucial to maximize and retain skilled professionals.

High Turnover Rates 

According to Advisory.com, nearly 334,000 health care providers—including 117,000 physicians—left the workforce in 2021. Physicians are experiencing record numbers in terms of loss with the major cause being cited as burnout and stress due to the pandemic. Another outlet reported that as many as 25% of doctors and nurses want to leave healthcare entirely!

High turnover disrupts care continuity and is estimated to cost roughly $9 billion for nurses and as much as $6.3 billion for physicians per year in the U.S. per the Healthcare Financial Management Association. Effective scheduling, workload balancing and retention initiatives are key to addressing turnover.

Risk of Clinician Burnout 

Per a 2021 Medscape report (Signin required), 42% of physicians and 40% of nurses suffer from burnout, characterized by exhaustion, cynicism and reduced productivity. Leading drivers include administrative burdens, lack of support and overwhelming workloads. Optimized scheduling and automation of tasks are essential to prevent burnout.

Book a demo to know how Kimedics can help.

Administrative and Operational Inefficiency  

Many healthcare organizations still rely on manual processes, spreadsheets and outdated systems to manage workforce scheduling, time-tracking and other functions. This contributes to fragmented workflows, duplication of efforts, and lack of holistic visibility across the workforce. Streamlined technology solutions are critical to drive efficiency.

Financial Pressures

With rising costs and declining reimbursements, healthcare entities face immense financial pressures. Inefficient workforce management contributes to revenue loss through poor productivity, high labor spend, and staff shortages. Centralized platforms enable data-driven decision-making to cut costs and optimize labor.

In essence, healthcare is coping with a perfect storm of staffing challenges alongside unrelenting patient demand. Strategic workforce management has become mission-critical to overcoming these hurdles.

Implementing centralized technology platforms like Kimedics helps healthcare organizations align the right clinicians to the right roles at the right times. The result is elevated care quality, improved financial performance and resilience in a rapidly evolving healthcare environment. Talk to us to find out more.

Streamline Healthcare Staff Scheduling with These 5 Tips

In a recent post, we shared five tips for streamlining healthcare scheduling. Here’s a brief summary of what we discussed in that post:

Efficient scheduling ensures proper staffing levels to provide quality patient care and reduces costs associated with overstaffing and reliance on temporary staff.

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The first tip is to use collaborative scheduling software like Kimedics. This automates scheduling, reduces errors, provides real-time staff availability data, and enables communication and shift swapping. Key software features include mobile access, customizable workflows, HR/payroll integration, and compliance.

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Second, understand staff availability and preferences through real-time updates, regular communication, and a centralized database. This allows proper shift assignments and avoids conflicts. Schedule equity should be prioritized to distribute undesirable shifts fairly.

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Third, implement effective communication channels like messaging apps, collaboration platforms, and email to coordinate scheduling and address changes. This prevents errors and issues.

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Fourth, offer flexible scheduling models like self-scheduling and float pools across departments. This improves work-life balance and patient coverage. Clear policies and training ensure proper implementation.

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Finally, continuously monitor and adjust schedules using data like staff utilization, costs, patient ratios, and satisfaction. This adapts to changing demands and optimizes staffing. Tools like Kimedics analytics support data-driven decisions.

In summary, leveraging technology, optimizing staff input, enhancing communication, allowing flexibility, and regular analysis help streamline healthcare scheduling. This benefits staff satisfaction and patient care. The article provides a sample template to implement these tips.

02. 

Key Pillars of Healthcare Workforce Management 

Managing the healthcare workforce is multifaceted, encompassing several interconnected components. Below are some of the key pillars that serve as the foundation of effective workforce management.

Scheduling and Staffing

Creating optimal schedules is crucial for patient care and labor cost management. Factors such as staff skills, facility needs and regulatory ratios determine schedule creation. Robust scheduling platforms incorporate real-time availability, streamline planning across locations, and enable shift swapping.

Time and Attendance Tracking 

Accurate time tracking ensures staff are paid correctly for hours worked while also providing data to optimize schedules. Centralized tracking of clock-ins/outs, breaks, overtime etc. eliminates reliance on error-prone manual processes.

Compensation Management

Proper compensation management involves setting competitive pay rates, ensuring accurate payroll, reimbursing expenses promptly, and providing the right employee benefits. This promotes satisfaction, retention and recruitment. Automated pay calculation and seamless HRIS integrations are key.

Compliance and Labor Law

Navigating workplace regulatory compliance around wage rules, leave, discrimination protections and OSHA is complex in healthcare. Training managers and implementing centralized tracking helps reduce compliance risks and claims of non-adherence.

Talent Acquisition  

Given growing talent shortages, healthcare recruiting requires robust sourcing, strong employer branding, streamlined hiring and candidate experience focus. Applicant tracking systems (ATS) are invaluable for managing high candidate volume and efficient screening.


Related: Read our 5 Effective Strategies for Healthcare Talent Acquisition

Performance Management

Ongoing workforce performance management entails setting employee expectations, monitoring progress, providing learning opportunities, reviewing performance, and tying workforce goals to organizational objectives. This promotes productivity and development.

Learning and Development 

Training and professional development opportunities empower employees and are key retention drivers. Effective programs identify and deliver targeted learning interventions to close skill gaps and elevate workforce capabilities over time.

Optimizing each area above requires interconnectivity. For example, data from time tracking informs scheduling decisions; recruitment and learning initiatives must align with strategic planning; and so forth. Unifying these pillars within connected platforms gives healthcare groups the ability to gain end-to-end workforce visibility and empower more strategic management.

A Brief Look at Healthcare Labor Laws

In our recent article about understanding important healthcare labor laws, we provided an overview of important labor laws that impact healthcare organizations in the United States. Understanding these regulations helps employers ensure compliance, avoid violations, and focus on patient care.

Here are the key laws we discussed in that post:

  • The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which sets minimum wage, overtime pay, and other standards.
  • The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) entitles eligible employees to job-protected unpaid leave.
  • The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires applicable large employers to provide affordable health coverage.
  • Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards aim to protect healthcare workers from injuries and illness.
  • Anti-discrimination laws prohibit workplace discrimination and require clear policies and training.
  • The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) governs relations between employers, employees, and unions, protecting workers' rights.

 

Here’s a brief look at the strategies we share for healthcare organizations to maintain compliance:

  • For FLSA, conducting worker classification audits and tracking overtime hours are advised.
  • For FMLA, having clear leave policies, eligibility notices, and tracking systems helps.
  • To meet ACA rules, monitoring employee hours and affordability is key.
  • OSHA compliance involves safety plans, committees, and training.
  • Anti-discrimination law efforts should include audits and documented personnel decisions.
  • Finally, NLRA compliance requires supervisory training on rights and consistent policy enforcement.

 

We also emphasized that understanding labor regulations avoids penalties, attracts talent, upholds employee rights, manages risks, streamlines HR processes, improves culture, aligns with ethical standards, and allows a focus on patient care. Overall, healthcare employers should stay informed on evolving laws, review policies for alignment, and seek legal expertise to support compliance.

Please note: This post is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Laws may vary based on location and situation. For guidance on compliance, consult legal counsel. This post does not create an attorney-client relationship.

03.

The Promise of Workforce Management Technology

Managing disjointed spreadsheets, paperwork, and manual processes can severely hinder healthcare operations management. 

The good news is advanced workforce management platforms offer immense promise to transform dated approaches.

When organizations like yours centralize data and automate tasks you can enjoy things like the following:

Unified Visibility Across the Workforce

Platforms consolidate data from scheduling, timekeeping, compensation, etc. in one accessible hub. This interconnectivity provides complete workforce insight.

Optimized Productivity and Cost Savings  

Automating administrative tasks like scheduling, payroll and reporting reduces wasted hours. Managers can reallocate time to focus on strategy and care. Data-driven decision making also reduces labor spend. 

Enhanced Collaboration and Communication

All workforce members access the same systems. Features like shift swapping, open shift visibility, and messaging foster seamless team coordination.

Compliance and Audit Readiness

Platforms track compensation, leave, and hours worked per requirements. Custom reporting demonstrates regulatory adherence.

Intuitive Mobile Experience

Access from anywhere enables managers and employees to manage schedules, request time off, approve timesheets, etc. on-the-go. Drives real-time coordination.

Scalability Across Locations and Roles

A single connected system versus disparate tools removes silos. Cloud-based access enables easy integration of new entities and locations.

Actionable Analytics and Insights

Robust reporting plus predictive analytics empowers scenario planning and strategy. What-if modeling, trend analysis, and data insights optimize decision making.


Related:  Read our post about predictive analytics in healthcare.

Seamless Implementation and Change Management

Cloud-based SaaS models mean rapid deployment and user onboarding. Ongoing enhancements ensure adaptable solutions that evolve with industry changes. 

Overall, purpose-built workforce management systems like Kimedics unlock immense potential for healthcare organizations. Tapping into technology's advantages gives healthcare leaders the ability to:

  • reduce administrative burdens
  • maximize resources, and 
  • empower their greatest asset - their people.

 

The end result? Everyone involved can focus on delivering exceptional, compassionate care.

04.

Driving Meaningful Transformation in Healthcare

With patient populations expanding alongside clinician burnout and talent shortages, the need for healthcare transformation has never been more urgent. Optimized workforce management powered by transformative technologies paves the pathway to achieving this transformation.

Below are some of the meaningful ways optimizing healthcare staff allocation drives change.

Improves Patient Experiences and Outcomes

Efficient scheduling ensures prompt access to care. Intuitive tools reduce delays. Staff satisfaction translates to a better bedside manner. Collectively this elevates patient experiences and clinical outcomes.

Unburdens Clinicians to Focus on Patients  

Automating administrative tasks allows clinicians to dedicate more time to patient care instead of paperwork. Dynamic scheduling also prevents burnout. Empowered physicians and nurses deliver better care.

Promotes Workforce Agility and Responsiveness

Open shift visibility and simplified shift swapping enables teams to dynamically adjust to patient surges and call outs. Enhances workforce agility.

Informs Strategic Workforce Planning 

Analytics, trends and forecasting guide strategic planning to meet future system needs. Ensures clinician supply meets evolving community demand. 

Drives Productivity and Performance Gains

Scheduling optimization, reduced absenteeism, and performance insights boost workforce productivity. Results in care delivery improvements and financial gains.

Elevates Employee Satisfaction and Retention

Fair compensation, streamlined approvals, collaborative scheduling and reduced burnout improve satisfaction. Higher retention saves replacement costs.

Ensures Regulatory Compliance and Audit Readiness 

Centralized tracking of hours, credentials, and compliance training reduces compliance gaps. Custom reporting demonstrates adherence.

Ultimately, optimized workforce management empowers healthcare organizations to rise above long-standing inefficiencies. Transformative technologies pave the pathway for executives to build thriving cultures focused on delivering the highest quality patient care. Mastering workforce management is critical to healthcare leaders so that organizations like yours can drive systemic improvements that tangibly elevate clinician engagement and health outcomes.

05.

Master Workforce Management to Make a Real Difference

When trying to keep a competitive edge and maintain (or increase!) market share, organizations can no longer afford disjointed and manual approaches to managing their invaluable workforce. Siloed data, administrative burdens, lack of visibility and inadequate communication impede healthcare teams from achieving their full potential.

However, by embracing transformative workforce management technology, healthcare leaders can optimize this vital asset and elevate their organizations. Unifying data and processes under connected platforms reduces wasted hours on repetitive tasks. Automation and advanced analytics unlock informed decision-making capabilities. Intuitive mobile access empowers collaboration. 

At its core, optimized workforce management liberates healthcare professionals to focus on their calling - providing first-rate patient care. Administrators can dedicate more time to strategy versus paperwork. Physicians and nurses can devote fuller attention to delivering empathetic, high-quality treatment.  

The result is healthcare organizations that run smarter, retain top talent, support their people, drive performance gains, and achieve superior clinical outcomes. Patients receive expedient access to skilled clinicians who feel empowered in their roles. In essence, mastering healthcare workforce management underpins organizational success and happier, healthier communities.

The time for transformation is now. Healthcare leaders must make workforce optimization a top priority. By embracing the pillars and the promise of modern workforce management, they can ascend above long-standing roadblocks and truly unlock their workforce's potential. Technology exists to transition problems of the past into opportunities of the future. The power to make a real difference lies in our hands.

How Kimedics Can Help

The Kimedics workforce management platform provides healthcare organizations with all the tools needed to drive meaningful transformation. Purpose-built for healthcare, Kimedics centralized scheduling, time tracking, compensation management, and other workflows in one intuitive solution. 

Advanced analytics empower data-driven decision making. Automation eliminates repetitive administrative tasks. Seamless mobile access fosters workforce-wide transparency and collaboration. Kimedics offers everything needed to master workforce management, reduce burnout, elevate engagement, ensure compliance, and enable your teams to provide exceptional patient care.

By leveraging Kimedics, healthcare leaders can optimize their most valuable asset - their people. They can minimize the distractions from burdensome administrative tasks and give their workforce back the gift of time to focus on serving patients. Equipped with real-time data and insights, healthcare organizations using Kimedics are ready to drive strategic workforce planning, enhanced productivity, and systemic improvements in care delivery. 

Want to see firsthand how the Kimedics workforce management platform can help you master critical workflows, unlock your workforce's potential, and truly make a difference in elevating patient experiences? Let's explore together how we can optimize your most vital resource - your people. Click here to schedule a personalized Kimedics demo today.

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