Leveraging analytics to make your workforce data work for you

Hospital operations is made up of countless moving parts, and a lot happens behind the scenes of patient care. Every decision must be carefully considered to provide the best possible care. If you are not utilizing data to make these decisions, an awful lot is riding on your gut feeling.

Workforce operations is an integral part of ensuring the right care provider is in the right place at the right time. With the high demand of patients needing care and a shortage (or at least finite number) of healthcare professionals, hospitals and health systems must focus on how they can optimize their current workforce to keep up with demand.

Before building an effective workforce plan, leadership must know where to start. With several factors impacting a hospital’s workforce operations, a good starting place is examining data that leadership has readily available through a workforce planning tool.

Aggregating data from multiple sources, an analytics dashboard shines a light on specific workforce metrics such as floating, cancellations, FTE leakage, overtime, and hiring targets to uncover areas of opportunity to better utilize the staff the organization currently has.

For units that feel they are constantly running short-staffed, managers often suspect they are severely understaffed. Inadequate core staff numbers is just one cause that may lead to a unit feeling short-staffed; there are often other factors at play. Having a consolidated view of core and contingency staff utilization can help leaders get to the root of their staff shortage concerns.

Being able to explore patterns, determine root causes, and glean actionable insights in a single location allows leadership from all areas to have a holistic view of current workforce operations. An online dashboard that visually represents operational data paints a clear picture of how staff is being utilized. Understanding how core and contingency staff are being used will reveal if units have the appropriate levels of each type.

Having access to advanced business intelligence tools allows leaders to zero in on specific metrics and offers insight into the current state of workforce operations, allowing goals to be set and an effective plan to be created. Not intended to monitor daily operations and productivity, this type of data allows leaders to set and monitor the overall strategy for workforce planning quarter to quarter.

The ability to toggle between operational and financial drivers helps provide clarity of what is happening within the facility to allow nursing leaders and finance leaders to work together collaboratively to improve clinical and financial outcomes.

With advanced analytics and technology continuing to push into healthcare, it’s easy to get lost in the sea of data. A workforce planning dashboard is a helpful tool for hospital leaders to monitor workforce metrics and track toward their goals, but it takes a deep knowledge of workforce strategies to make data meaningful and actionable. Without identifying key optimization opportunities and guidance on how to apply best practice strategies, data is just numbers.

Analytics combined with knowledge of best practice labor management strategies can help an organization build a foundation of effective and efficient staffing practices and policies, creating the framework for predictable and sustainable results.

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