Building the case for a data driven nurse staffing system

August 3, 2017

In today’s healthcare organizations, it’s important that chief financial officers and chief nursing officers are of one accord and in partnership to drive optimal use of resources in a way that meets patient needs. Building a business case for an evidenced based staffing system can drive the decision- making process and ultimately lead to success for your entire organization.

A nurse staffing system based on the needs of the patient can play a critical role in nursing workforce management solutions while providing key data metrics for the finance department.

For all of this to happen, it’s critical for nursing leaders to speak the language of finance even in the clinically driven spaces of nursing. The ability of the CNO to be innovative in finance and financial awareness allows nursing departments to have a more holistic, broad perspective of the entire healthcare organization.

The ANA's standard of “resource utilization” suggests that all RNs need to identify consumer care needs, the potential for harm, the complexity of the task, and the desired outcome when evaluating resource allocations. This requires nurses to understand the impact of allocations on financial priorities behind healthcare business decisions

Implementing a data driven staffing system can not only provide a real return on investment, but can also support an improvement in patient outcomes. The cost of a solution can be justified by quantifying the improvements in relation to an increase in reimbursement dollars to the organization. Implementing a solution like Infor Staffing Optimizer for Healthcare is more than staffing by acuity, it accounts for individual patient needs and makes staffing recommendations based on the needs of the patients.

Nurse leaders have an opportunity to see real increases in reimbursement related to value based purchasing domain programs when patient needs are met.

There will be minor changes to the hospital value based purchasing program for CMS in 2018. Here’s how the current program stacks up against 2018 changes.
CategoryCurrent % weight2018 % weight
Clinical Care30%25%
Clinical Care Outcomes25%
Clinical Care Process5%
Efficiency and Cost Reduction25%25%

This effort will be supported by finance as it uses tools to help demonstrate the real value of nursing services contributions as a true revenue generating department instead of an historic cost center.

The main goal of purchasing a data driven staffing solution is to identify the appropriate number of nurses required to meet the unique needs of the patient. The cost can be a deterrent, unless building a business case can be developed that demonstrates a real return on investment for the organization. When building a business case, it’s helpful to identify an outcome that can be quantified in dollars. The connection for an organization can be to justify the investment by the increase in reimbursement as part of the value base purchasing program.

With the advances in technology, we have an opportunity to be innovative and look at a new approach to assure quality outcomes and financial sustainability. Leveraging that technology has become a strategic labor plan for nursing and finance leaders. Technology solutions are a valuable tool that can be used to improve and standardize workflow, plan effectively, respond to patient fluctuations in real time, and make quality staffing decisions that lead to optimal staffing decisions for quality care. All of this adds up to improved patient and nursing satisfaction, and that’s what the whole care experience should be about.

-Danielle Miller PHD(c), MSN, RNC-OB Chief Nursing Officer, Clinical Applications
  • Healthcare
  • EMEA
  • North America
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