4 tech-based improvements to employee experience to boost operational efficiency, patient satisfaction

With a direct correlation between clinician engagement and patient safety, experience and satisfaction, it is crucial for healthcare leaders to prioritize the employee experience.

This is no easy feat: Employee engagement is more threatened than ever by a variety of factors. Not only is healthcare facing the tightest labor market in decades along with rising turnover and vacancy rates, but clinician well-being is also rapidly eroding, with anywhere between one-third and one-half of U.S. physicians and nurses experiencing substantial symptoms of burnout, according to Mike Andrus, vice president of human capital management transformation at Oracle.

During a Dec. 18 webinar sponsored by Oracle and hosted by Becker's Hospital Review, Mr. Andrus and Mary Kilmer, executive director of Oracle Healthcare, made clear the importance of engaging clinical employees and shared technology-based strategies for doing so.

Ideally, employees will be engaged throughout their entire experience with an organization, beginning with their initial application, through the onboarding process and beyond. Once fully trained, "the idea is that we want to keep this as a continuum, that they're able to find new opportunities for growth within your organization, versus feeling that they need to leave in order to find those growth opportunities elsewhere," Mr. Andrus said.

Employee engagement may seem straightforward, but engaging clinicians successfully comes with a host of challenges. In fact, many employees report feeling disengaged from the start of the hiring process, which is often followed by poor onboarding, inadequate motivation from management and a lack of opportunities for ongoing career development.

Advanced technology, however, can combat these issues. "How do we bring technology — machine learning, decision science such as advanced analytics and predictions, digital assistants and process automation — to bear?" Mr. Andrus said. "These are all components that are being applied today to improve the employee experience. ... It follows the premise of adopting technologies we're already using outside of work and bringing them into work."

Ms. Kilmer listed four tech-based interventions to boost employee engagement, which can ultimately result in improved patient outcomes:

  • Guided learning: Embedding guidance and step-by-step instructions into existing solutions helps employees both become more efficient and avoid the frustration of having to track down a separate tool or guide to accomplish a task. "If we step back and think about employee experience, really what we're talking about is having tools and solutions that engage and empower employees to be able to do their work and make it easier for them to do their work," she said.
  • Adaptive intelligent applications: These applications use machine learning algorithms to build a comprehensive and constantly updated view of an organization's operations, allowing the apps to automatically compile requested data and generate predictions for future financial, administrative and other data points.
  • Smart actions: Beyond merely pulling up information and forecasting future progress, adaptive intelligent apps can also make recommendations to improve efficiency and outcomes. "They empower and engage employees by bringing them actionable information, rather than leaving them to track down the data and interpret it themselves," Ms. Kilmer explained.
  • Digital assistants: That actionable information and other actionable processes do not necessarily require an app or computer — organization-specific chatbots can be built into existing voice technology tools such as Apple's Siri or Amazon's Alexa to streamline supply chain, human capital, revenue cycle, enterprise performance and other management processes.

Altogether, these tools are intended to improve the employee experience by integrating the technologies employees already use outside of work and are comfortable with into their clinical workflows.

"It's all about making it simple and easy so that employees can do their jobs and feel good about it," Ms. Kilmer said. "They also feel good about working at an organization that invests in the latest technology, that invests in allowing them to be able to accomplish their tasks more efficiently and effectively."

View the full webinar here.

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