February is the month of love, and now is the perfect time to evaluate your organization’s relationship with productivity. Is it one-sided? Does your bottom line give and give without much support from leadership? Productivity is a partnership requiring constant attention. If you are not willing to put in the work and make a long-term commitment, you could be headed for an expensive break-up! Effective productivity management is a consistent balancing act.
According to the Chinese Zodiac, 2023 is the year of the Rabbit. The sign of the Rabbit is a symbol of longevity, peace, and prosperity in Chinese culture. 2023 is predicted to be the year of hope.
Simply stated, productivity is the measure of input to output. It is typically tracked to gauge changes in performance over time. The most common way that healthcare organizations assess productivity is through internal comparisons against historical operations.
The recent challenges to and changes in the delivery of healthcare have spotlighted the demand for more enhanced leadership development moving forward. Throughout the pandemic, staff have displayed their resilience and ability to adapt, made possible by the innovative leaders that guided organizations through recovery towards stability without any predetermined path. This “trial by fire” approach was necessary given the unprecedented situation at hand, but has, in hindsight, proven the value of certain traits that need to be cultivated in future leaders.
For most organizations, healthy finances are the pulse by which operations are measured and improvement strategies developed. Fiscal sustainability sets the tone for services and staffing, balancing cost with demand and quality. Though many would argue that employees, namely nurses, are the heart of a hospital or health system, it is truly a strong margin that determines viability.
Demand in healthcare, by nature, can be hard to predict. A fundamental part of care delivery is being prepared for the unexpected, whether that be the effects of a natural disaster, large-scale safety event, or global pandemic. However, that does not mean that daily staffing patterns and annual budgets should be buffered to accommodate the “what-ifs.
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.
Did you know that the premium dollars scattered across your hospital are often excluded from any labor spend analyses? Did you know that these dollars can drive up an organization’s Compensation Ratio and lead to staff turnover? High-cost labor dollars can range from incremental overtime to interim leadership. Watch now as ALTIUS’ CEO, Stephanie Dorwart, and COO, RandiLynn Lukac discuss strategies for decreasing premium dollars and provide recommendations for improvement. .