Spring has sprung! This is the season of rebirth and reinvention. While some organizations are beginning their new fiscal year, others may be reviewing their Q1 performance or gearing up to start their budget process. Regardless of what category your hospital or health system falls into, it is essential to remember the impact productivity has on sustained improvement and continued fiscal strength. Like so many things, productivity should follow a traditional “life cycle” and be a routine focus of operational and management strategies year-over-year. Here are some ways to kick-start the productivity life cycle in your organization:
- Refresh Targets and Benchmarks – Healthcare is a highly dynamic industry. Pandemic aside, care delivery models, billing/reimbursement practices, and compliance requirements are perpetually changing. To keep your workforce optimization and performance improvement strategies effective, it is essential that productivity goals and comparisons be updated annually. This will ensure that any and all changes to operations have been properly accounted for and new industry or service-line standards are being used to shape staffing practices based on patient demand.
- Reinvigorate Staff – Communication and accountability are the key to positive results from any improvement initiative. No one knows an organization and its operations better than the employees. Engage them! Include department leaders in regular strategy sessions surrounding productivity efforts and related goals. Reiterate that productivity is not a one-time solution, but an ongoing tool for effective management. By continuously educating staff on how to be better stewards of their resources, reaffirming their buy-in on the process, and frequently recognizing their contributions, lasting efficiencies are gained.
- Revitalize Your Bottom Line – With personnel expense comprising more than half of most hospital’s operating costs, maintaining proper staff/volume alignment is often the easiest way to see black. Carrying out this strategy does, however, come with its own set of challenges. The best approach is to start small. Set realistic and achievable goals, sending your organization on a journey to improved performance over a 12 to 18-month period. Provide leaders with the tools necessary to track performance and realize success. Once initial goals have been achieved, reevaluate workflow and performance, eliminate waste, and identify means for continued improvement. The cost-savings generated can then be reinvested back into the staff and the organization before beginning the process again.
Productivity should be viewed as a “living” solution to sustained performance improvement. It needs to be nurtured and given proper attention to produce the desired results. By instilling a productivity “life cycle” in your organization, you establish a means for these principles to take root and bear “fruit” year after year.
Let the ALTIUS team guide your hospital or health system in the development of an effective productivity process that can be repeated annually! Reach out to us directly here to learn more.