Beyond the Bedside - Safely Aligning Caregivers and Patients through Clinical Science

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October 4, 2023By Brianna Zink

As we conclude our series on easing the administrative burden on nurses as both employees and supervisors, we turn our attention to a critical aspect - staffing decisions and nurse-patient management and assignments. In partnership with i360, Infor conducted a survey involving over 1,000 nurses across the United States to identify areas where technology can better support nurses in their roles. In case you missed them, you can catch up on the Beyond the Bedside blog series that explored accurate pay, available supplies, and the impact of nurse-manager span of control

Challenges in Staffing Decisions 

Many hospitals make staffing decisions based on census alone and patient assignments are made relying solely on the clinical judgment of oncoming and departing charge nurses. Unfortunately, 38% of survey respondents indicated that unequal or unfair assignments, disregarding the complexity of patients, were prevalent issues within their organizations. The reliance on census data fails to consider the uniqueness and complexities of each patient, imposing unsafe or unrealistic constraints on those making assignment decisions. Infor WFM provides hospitals with a powerful solution to efficiently schedule for each unit or area of the hospital, ensuring optimal staffing decisions. 

Data-Driven Staffing with Clinical Science

Infor's WFM suite for healthcare incorporates Clinical Science, an evidence-based methodology that measures the direct and indirect workload for each patient and unit. Recognizing that acuity alone does not accurately account for the additional work nurses perform to ensure a unit runs smoothly, Clinical Science considers various indirect care activities like answering call lights, participating in unit rounds, and checking crash carts. These often unnoticed but necessary tasks are configured for each specific unit, combining with direct care requirements to provide a comprehensive picture of each unit's needs. Hospital leaders can efficiently deploy staff based on the patients' actual needs on each unit, ensuring a fair and equitable distribution of workload. 

Fair and Equitable Patient Assignments

Clinical Science leverages data from the electronic medical record (EMR) to calculate the time required for direct care interventions for each patient. Unlike acuity, this method reflects the true time and effort needed to care for a patient, considering factors like age, diagnosis, and specific care requirements. For example, a patient may be stable and have a low acuity, but they may be elderly with a new diagnosis of diabetes and require frequent reorientation and more in-depth education, consuming much of the nurses’ time. Automated nurse-patient assignment processes ensure nurses receive fair, safe, and equitable patient assignments, granting them the time necessary to meet their patients' unique needs. The system factors in patient workloads, room proximity, and continuity of care, allowing charge nurses to make informed decisions based on their expertise and clinical knowledge. 

Fostering Nurse Satisfaction and Wellbeing 

As we address the nursing shortage, implementing immediate solutions to improve nurse satisfaction and wellbeing becomes paramount. Relieving administrative burdens, ensuring adequate supplies for patient care, making fair staffing decisions, and providing accurate pay are crucial basics that healthcare systems must prioritize for their nursing staff. Infor goes beyond delivering on these essentials, equipping nurses with the necessary resources to thrive and deliver the highest quality patient care. 

By leveraging Infor's WFM suite for healthcare and Clinical Science, hospitals can optimize their staffing practices, ensuring fair and safe patient assignments while empowering their nursing workforce. We invite you to contact Infor today to discover how Infor's healthcare SaaS solutions for ERP, WFM, and interoperability can drive success and efficiency in your healthcare organization. Together, let's build a stronger future for nursing professionals and the patients they serve. 

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