Optimize provider time to improve patient access — 3 insights from Banner Health & QGenda

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Organizations without a scheduling-centric healthcare workforce management solution struggle to optimize providers' time and  maximize patient access to care. These organizations often lack real-time visibility into critical provider data and have uncertainty about their capacity to provide care. 

During a June webinar hosted by Becker's Hospital Review and sponsored by QGenda, two healthcare leaders discussed challenges presented when a health system lacks an accurate, real-time, single source of truth for provider scheduling, on-call scheduling, and other important healthcare workforce management tools. The presenters were:

  • Bethany Bruzzi, MD, CMO, Banner Health in Phoenix
  • Rich Miller, Chief Strategy Officer, QGenda

Three key takeaways were: 

  1. Workforce issues can hinder patient access. Workforce management issues are at the heart of many health system challenges. These issues include imbalances between rising patient demand, driven by demographic trends, and the limited supply of labor, exacerbated by physician shortages and provider burnout. The COVID-19 pandemic brought these workforce challenges forward, notably large fluctuations in volume and scheduling uncertainty. Lack of visibility into demand and supply can impact patient access to care.

"It's going to be very important as we get into the post-pandemic period that we think about the strategic initiatives of our hospitals and that we put the provider first," Mr. Miller said. 

  1. Traditional workforce management systems don't meet healthcare-specific needs; QGenda enhances real-time visibility and optimizes provider time. Many health systems utilize disparate systems that fail to have a single source of truth and fail to show the true organizational capacity at a given time. 

QGenda offers a checklist to health systems to help optimize capacity, with considerations such as visibility across departments, facilities and practice groups; equitable and balanced physician scheduling; and the ability to optimize utilization of providers and rooms. "Your goal should be optimizing the time of your most valuable resources [the workforce], improving those efficiencies and having the data to back it up," Mr. Miller said.

  1. Banner Health implemented QGenda to provide consistency and transparency across the enterprise. Leaders at Banner University Medical Center in Tucson, Ariz., wanted to implement a single solution to bring together numerous systems. The goals included a single source of truth for all providers and improved accuracy, efficiency and visibility across all locations. Banner's leaders wanted to enable better communication and transparency across the enterprise and wanted greater flexibility for surges or pivots. 

Banner found an excellent partner in QGenda. "All of our customer representatives at QGenda are solution oriented and respond immediately," Dr. Bruzzi said. Beginning with individual departments, until reaching critical mass, Banner deployed QGenda across the acute population and is expanding to ambulatory departments. Banner took the lead on implementation. "We handed that torch over and allowed their experts to come in with the enterprise plan and complete the onboarding and training," Dr. Bruzzi said. The department schedules and on-call system now work together and can quickly find the right provider. As a result, errors in scheduling and confusion about who is on call are both down significantly.

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