Staff by acuity to improve patient outcomes
September 27, 2016
Danielle Miller, PHD(c), MSN, RNC-OB Chief Nursing Officer, Clinical Applications
Acuity based staffing is in the forefront of discussions within healthcare organizations, as research into the relationship between staffing ratios and patient outcomes continues. Exploring how to leverage technology can allow organizations to look at ways to improve patient outcomes by staffing according to the unique needs of the patients they serve. That technology can match nurses with patients who require care based on their skills and expertise.
The goal of acuity based systems aims to decrease the variation in assignments and care delivery, creating the opportunity to bring balance to workload distribution through equitable patient assignments. Staffing by acuity may or may not change the number of nurses that are required, but it may change the distribution of patients to ensure a fair and equitable assignment among staff. Fairness plays a role in nursing satisfaction as nurses who feel overworked may become burned out and simply leave. Providing nurses with ample time to engage and provide excellent patient care helps reduce adverse events and leads to increased patient outcomes. Staffing based on the workload needed for patients allows you to match nurse skills to the individual and unique needs of the patients.
Nurses, especially, realize that no two patients are the same, even if they have the same diagnosis. The fact is, some patients require more care than others, and determining the best workload and staffing levels is a delicate balancing act. You can offer excellent care and outcomes with Infor® Care Workloads, a patient acuity and workload management solution that provides a link between the patients being cared for, and the nurses who care for them. The Infor Care Workloads embedded methodology helps healthcare organizations deliver better overall care by providing better support to staff and management to communicate care requirements for each patient.
When combined with the Infor Multi-View Scheduler, managers are able to create and edit sophisticated schedules by automatically assigning employees to meet required demands of the patients. Accessing real-time workload coverage indicators and key workforce summary statistics allow for organizations to safely staff for the unique needs of their patients in a streamlined process.
Managers now have data for building budgets and leaders have data to help maintain equitable workloads. Finance can easily align workload instruments to fiscal standards while IT can interface with applications to meet system requirements. The ability of the acuity system to extract data directly from the EMR can assist not only front line leaders with staffing decisions, but by using real time data, providers can make real time decisions that positively impact patient care.
Leveraging advances in technology allows organization to move beyond traditional staffing matrices and ratio or guideline staffing. Technology supports real time decision-making based on objective nursing criteria to offer an opportunity to leave the comfort zone of ratio-based staffing and adapt an innovative way to change the way care is delivered by incorporating a staffing plan designed to directly meet the needs of the patients in our care.
- North America