The Fear of Productivity

 Any healthcare consultant that focuses on productivity will tell you the mixed reactions received when sharing that you have been engaged to improve performance. Why are we, as an industry, conditioned to fear a word that brings value, accountability, and increased efficiencies to hospitals and health systems? Historically speaking, productivity was synonymously linked to a reduction in force or layoff. It is no wonder that just the mention of it could send panic across an organization, especially if previous experiences have left staff feeling lost, defeated, and defensive.

The Financial Impacts of COVID-19

The financial impacts of COVID-19 are unprecedented, crippling the operations of most healthcare organizations and leaving leaders to answer serious questions about strategies for stabilization. One of the quickest, most effective solutions is through workforce optimization. Improving performance by enhancing productivity and implementing processes to control labor costs will help hospitals and health systems to rebound in a systematic way that not only meets patient demand but ensures the right resources are in place to provide the best care.

How do you know how many FTEs you need?

With personnel expense making up more than half of the total operating cost of most hospitals and health systems, it essential to understand how many FTEs your organization truly needs to run efficiently. A Full-Time Equivalent, or FTE, is the sum of all worked or paid hours divided by the total hours in a pay period. For most organizations, that’s 80 hours per pay period or 2080 hours per year.

The Road to the “New Normal”

With the stay-at-home orders beginning to be lifted and life starting to normalize once again, there are many things healthcare leaders need to be cognizant of as the industry enters the recovery phase of this pandemic. Hospital and health system executives need to take stock of what has occurred, identify the impacts, both financially and operationally, and take the necessary steps NOW to prepare for what comes next. Here are a couple of key elements to consider: What waivers and operating flexibilities has your organization taken advantage of over recent months? Though it remains unclear if/when any of the regulatory changes made to create access and ease the delivery of care during this time will expire, plans must be developed to account for all scenarios.

ALTIUS Answers Episode 3: Interview with COO RandiLynn Lukac

Productivity and workforce optimization engagements most often start off with the best of intentions. However, there are common missteps that can lead to undesirable results or negative outcomes. In the latest episode of ALTIUS Answers, CEO Stephanie Dorwart and COO RandiLynn Lukac discuss eight key elements to successful performance improvement! When messaged correctly and managed effectively, productivity engagements can create a positive culture of change focused on accountability and process improvement with a big impact.

Why use consultants?

As the saying goes, “asking for help doesn’t mean that you are weak, it means that you are wise.” Recognizing your organization’s strengths and knowing when an outside perspective is needed to drive greater levels of performance is the forward-thinking attitude that successful healthcare leaders embody. While sourcing the support of a consulting team isn’t always the most “popular” approach, it can be the most effective.

Avoiding Productivity Pitfalls

Managing labor has become a delicate balancing act between providing the right level of staff and keeping expenses down. Implementing a meaningful staffing model while maintaining the unique values, beliefs, and overall culture of the organization should be a hospital's primary focus to ensure sustainability. Productivity, however, is a concept that is not fully understood within the healthcare industry.

Hiring More is Becoming Unsustainable!

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 average hospital turning over 85.2% of its workforce since 2013 (1). These stats are staggering, considering how time-consuming and costly recruitment efforts can be, especially given the ever-shrinking candidate pool that currently exists.

Keepin’ it Productive!

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.