Putting theory into practice: Patient-centric workforce management

February 2, 2017

Alan Bateman, Industry Strategy Director, Infor Healthcare

I’ve blogged a few times about the importance of patient-centric workforce management, and why shifting to this mindset is good for patients, staff and organizations. It’s all about improving outcomes, enhancing the care experience and reducing costs—all of which are extremely important.

In fact, the concept is gaining increased acceptance among healthcare leaders, according to the Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends 2016 survey of more than 7,000 business and HR leaders in 130 countries. But how do organizations make patient centricity happen? What are the barriers to turning talk into action and, most importantly, how do we overcome them?

The recently published white paper, Quality Moves from the Ivory Tower to the Hospital Floor with Patient Centric Workforce Models (link), provides expert insight into how organizations are struggling with this as they face the realities of their current state of workforce management.

One barrier is workload imbalance. Take, for example, two nurses with four patients each. One may end up working much harder than the other. But this kind of inequity is exactly why health systems need a look at the patient as a whole, letting scheduling managers see how many hours a nurse would actually work based on a patient’s comorbidities, not just the current diagnosis. Something as simple as someone with dementia not being able to bathe himself and responding more slowly to care can add hours to a caregiver’s workload.

This means the holistic approach needs to replace the traditional. Right now organizations are focused on time cards, payroll, shift scheduling and generating reports, often from different systems. A true, patient-centric workforce management system is able to analyze actual patient, staff and system data to proactively support the patient-centered model. Decision makers are informed with evidence-based information gathered from real organizational interventions. Staffing is subsequently based on everything from nurse experience and education to softer skills such as patience and empathy. This optimum caregiver/patient match means the patient is better served, the nurse remains engaged and energized, and patient satisfaction (and value-based reimbursement) is elevated.

A patient-centered system should have the flexibility and agility to meet fluctuating patient loads and needs. It should also dovetail into the concept of more personalized patient care, providing access to the data needed to assign care givers based on the clinical needs of the patient.

The right system, such as Infor Healthcare Workforce Management, also encourages teamwork, which increases buy-in by evaluating the behavioral characteristics of the whole team so it can work together to confer and concur on what is best for the patient.

I would like to hear from you about how (or if) patient-centered workforce management is taking shape at your organization. What do you see as the barriers and, as important, what do you see as its possibilities?
  • Healthcare
  • EMEA
  • North America
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