In a previous post for the Staffing Stream, I shared all the ways that AI can impact nurse staffing as well as five processes that are ripe for disruption. It’s important to note, however, that not all solutions are created equal. In a recent article from the MIT Sloan School of Management, AI experts noted that “the quality of an AI tool — and the value it can bring your organization — is enabled by the quality of the ground truth used to train and validate it.” This means that any organization considering an AI platform must carefully assess the quality and viability of available solutions against their own internal requirements, resources and potential challenges in order to make an informed decision.
A rigorous evaluation of any AI solution should start with a group of stakeholders from across the organization. Typically this includes finance, central staffing and nursing leadership. Frontline nurses should also play a key role. In my experience, word spreads like wildfire when a new tool is being tested. If the early results are positive, every unit will want the tool. Conversely, if a new tool is forced upon nurses without their input, they can be wary, which is why select groups of unit managers who are motivated to make positive changes should be involved from an early stage.
Once you have identified your candidate solutions, consider the following ten questions as a basis for your evaluation.
- How does the AI solution integrate with our existing staffing processes and systems? Will it require significant changes to our workflows or infrastructure?
- What data sources does the AI solution utilize, and how does it handle data privacy and security?
- Can the AI solution effectively handle the unique characteristics of nurse staffing, such as varying certifications, shift preferences and skill requirements?
- What level of customization and flexibility does the AI solution offer? Can it adapt to our specific staffing needs, policies and preferences?
- What is the implementation process for the AI solution? How long does it take to set up, train and integrate into our operations? Are there any potential disruptions during implementation?
- How user-friendly is the AI solution? Will our staff require extensive training or technical expertise to utilize and navigate the system effectively?
- Does the AI solution provider have experience and expertise in the healthcare and nurse staffing industry? Can they provide references or testimonials from other clients?
- What is the scalability and future development roadmap for the AI solution? Can it adapt to changing needs, evolving technology and industry advancements?
- How does the AI solution address ethical considerations and biases in staffing decisions? Is there transparency in the algorithms and decision-making processes?
- Can the AI solution integrate with other healthcare systems, such as EHRs or workforce management systems, to ensure seamless data exchange and interoperability?
This list should be expanded and adapted to the needs of your organization, but this list should provide a helpful jumping-off point. As someone who has dedicated much of my career to solving the issue of nurse staffing and scheduling, I could not be more excited about the potential for AI to transform what has long been an arduous, manual process into something that is streamlined, efficient and — above all — transparent. The potential upsides across everything from nurse retention to patient outcomes are vast, which is why it’s so important to consider carefully before choosing the solution that is right for you.