The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted and introduced a new set of challenges to organizations of all industries. Emergence from this situation in the strongest position possible and returning to more normalized operations quickly require a deliberate recovery strategy.
While this strategy must be tailored to each specific organization and location, there are four common, key areas to focus on to accelerate post Covid-19 recovery: revenue enhancement, operations and workforce flexibility, cost containment, and talent acquisition and retention. The focus on these initiatives revolves around two specific solutions: staffing optimization and data-driven technology.
Staffing optimization. Even before the coronavirus created outbreaks across the US, many hospitals and health systems were facing a gap between staff and patient demand — creating a staffing shortage. While the demand for healthcare has been steadily on the rise over the past decade and will continue to do so, hospital administrations are faced with the enormous task of employee acquisition and retention.
Covid-19 presents another challenge, impacting both the patient population and staff. During the age of the coronavirus, an assessment of current staffing will determine if any inefficiencies are causing potential gaps between nursing and finance. The assessment evaluates productivity and financial impact, and provides grids that meet productivity, minimizing costs, and maximizing the ability to cover patient demands at every census point.
Data-driven technology. When it comes to scheduling healthcare staff, there’s a lot to take into account, making it a complicated process. Add in a new, serious illness that is causing spikes in patient census, and the thought of scheduling to meet this demand can be overwhelming. But the implementation of master scheduling tools that ensures staff are utilized optimally according to ratios, needs, and locations provides tremendous benefits — including delivering time back to a nurse manager or scheduler to devote to more pressing clinical duties. Additionally, real-time reporting and data analysis tools enable enhanced decision making in this ever changing pandemic.
On top of scheduling software that uncomplicates the process, a workforce planning dashboard can provide the blend of key HR, financial, and operational metrics needed to make sound decisions regarding talent resources. Identifying metrics such as number of core staff needed versus how many are being utilized can also help multiple departments plan for the future and decide how to optimally use staff.
Accelerated recovery starts with a plan. By tailoring an approach specifically for an organization, it can help them achieve near-term revenue capture, margin recovery, and cost containment through the alignment of workforce needs to various patient volume scenarios. While working on short-range goals, a thoughtful recovery plan will help leaders develop strategic initiatives to benefit the long term, such as staff engagement and retention strategies, workforce capacity planning, and improved transparency to allow for more flexible use of staffing resources.