As we bid good riddance to the stress and uncertainty of 2020, it is safe to say that everyone is excited to begin the new year. However, the challenges of last year have helped to guide growth, both personal and professional. That is why it is more important than ever to use the start of 2021 as a time for reflection and evaluation, determining how to further improve upon a foundation forged in the chaos of the pandemic.
Many healthcare leaders believe that the term “minimum staffing” is the result of performance improvement initiatives aimed at doing more with less. It is actually a critical component of any department’s operations and should be considered in all productivity strategies and staffing-based decisions. Minimum staffing levels indicate the number of manhours across each job code category in a department, regardless of patient census or workload, necessary to operate safely and efficiently.
In the past five months, we as healthcare professionals have all learned a lot about the human spirit's strength and have been humbled by our ability as an industry to persevere during this crisis. We have also come to realize that COVID-19 is here to stay. This devastating virus is not merely a passing health anomaly that we are working to overcome, but instead a permanent change to which we must adapt.
At ATLIUS, we stress the importance of having the right person, in the right place, performing the right task, for the right clinical outcome. This approach is then ultimately supported by having the right productivity target in place. The question is, how do you determine each departmental target so that it results in the highest level of efficiency and the best overall outcomes? While there are various ways to establish productivity targets, we have seen the strongest performers follow our primary approach to target setting: varying targets by department.
Many healthcare leaders adopt a "tough love" approach when managing employee performance and expectations. This method may work well for some staff members, but not all will embrace the negativity it can create. Understanding your team and the styles they respond positively to is critical in realizing continued operational success and employee satisfaction.
We are all familiar with the term “death by meeting.” It refers to the seemingly endless cycle of leaders having meetings to prepare for other meetings during which strategies are discussed that require more meetings to implement! It’s exhausting to say, let alone live. Instead of having a positive impact on operations, it has quite the opposite effect.
According to a recent article, the turnover rate in the healthcare industry has increased by 5% across all job categories over the last decade. With the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the operations of hospitals and health systems, it is safe to assume that these rates will continue to rise. Considering how time-consuming and costly recruitment efforts can be, especially given the ever-shrinking candidate pool that presently exists, it is critical that healthcare leaders appropriately manage the employees that they do have.
What does "Best Practice" mean in the healthcare environment? Just as in any other field, "Best Practice" is the commitment to using all the knowledge, processes, data, and technology at one's disposal to ensure success. However, let's take that one step further and note that this success must be realized in the most efficient manner possible to make a difference to your organization's bottom line. Controlling costs through the proper utilization of resources and minimization of waste are ways that hospitals and health systems are achieving "Best Practice" status.
The months leading up to a fiscal year turn can be stressful enough. In light of the current climate, healthcare organizations are faced with even more significant challenges. Any preliminary volume and staffing projections previously in place are now being cast aside and re-evaluated based on new strategies to restore financial stability.
Healthcare is a demanding industry. There are a LOT of emotions associated with each experience, from the high highs of saving a life to the low lows of losing one. In recent months due to the COVID-19 crisis, healthcare professionals have endured mentally and physically grueling work conditions never before experienced.