The Science of Staffing: How Custom Software Solutions Transform Healthcare Workforce Management
In a busy hospital, doctors, nurses, and support staff race against the clock to provide life-saving care. Whether a qualified professional can quickly deliver emergency help is a matter of life and death. Sadly, the workflows in an average hospital are a confusing maze of ever-changing shifts – making healthcare workforce management a daunting task.
Today, healthcare organizations are embracing workforce management software solutions to address long-standing problems within the industry. These tools streamline scheduling, optimize staff allocation, and keep the entire healthcare workforce in perfect sync.
In this article, we will discover how healthcare workforce management software improves efficiency and saves costs while empowering doctors and nurses to deliver exceptional patient care.
What is healthcare workforce management?
Simply put, healthcare workforce management ensures that the right specialist is present at the right place at the right time. Healthcare managers have to create suitable schedules for nurses and clinicians that keep the professionals on top of their productivity while ensuring compliance with regulations.
Healthcare staff scheduling, attendance, leaves, communications, and payroll are key elements of workforce management for healthcare.
Workforce management challenges in healthcare
Healthcare labor management is not without its fair share of challenges. Healthcare providers must navigate serious obstacles to ensure smooth operations and quality care delivery.
- Staffing shortages. In 2022, there were around 43 000 full-time equivalent nursing vacancies in the UK, and the shortages are only increasing. Finding the right talent is difficult, and hospitals now rely on flexible workforce to help fill the gaps.
- Overworked employees. Due to understaffing and inefficiencies in the system, employees end up exhausted and overworked, which decreases job satisfaction and leads to worse care quality.
- Poor employee retention. Overworked employees are more likely to resign, which exacerbates staff shortages, leading to a vicious cycle. If not addressed, this cycle decreases care quality and leads to general dissatisfaction with healthcare services.
Fortunately, workforce management software for healthcare can help providers meet these challenges head-on.
Benefits of clinic workforce management solutions
Healthcare workforce management software comes with a range of tangible benefits for both managers and staff.
- Simple scheduling. Workforce management software enables organizations to create, manage, and automatically update staff schedules, all while taking into account employee preferences, availability, and coverage requirements. When automated, healthcare shift management improves operational efficiency, minimizes scheduling conflicts, and enhances workforce productivity.
- No more understaffing and overstaffing. Workforce analytics in healthcare solutions provide the ability to accurately forecast service demand and mobilize staff swiftly. This allows hospitals to proactively address potential shortages of critical personnel and avoid excessive expenditures during periods of peak demand.
- Better staff allocation. A healthcare workforce management system provides complete visibility over the staff and their competencies. This allows to find the right balance of part-time and full-time employees and ensure there is personnel with the right qualifications for each task.
- Streamlined payroll management. Unpredictable working hours and emergencies often require staff members to work multiple or extended shifts, leading to complex wage calculations. Healthcare software automatically and accurately calculates wages for each employee. This saves time, minimizes errors, and eliminates the need for additional accounting staff.
- Ensured compliance. Healthcare workforce planning is subjected to local legal regulations. A high-quality solution will let you track leaves, minimum wages, overtime pay, and other welfare benefits to make sure you comply with labor law requirements.
- Saved labor costs. Staff productivity tracking features enable you to consistently analyze workforce data. Having a clear view of workflow in your facility helps you identify opportunities for cost reductions that won’t affect patient care quality.
Now, let's shift our focus to the key features you should look for in a high-quality workforce management software solution.
Features of healthcare workforce management software
In this section, we explore the key features of healthcare workforce management solutions that empower organizations to effectively manage their workforce and optimize operational efficiency.
This basic function is available in virtually all time and attendance solutions for healthcare. It enables employees to log in the start and finish of their working time and allows managers to pull out the data to see the amount of time each member of staff worked. The software can also enable you to track time offs, leaves, etc.
High-quality solutions automatically generate optimal schedules based on your business data. These schedules may take into account hourly rates, qualifications of the staff, and availability.
Certain solutions can also enforce minimal rest periods and maximal work hours to prevent fatigue and burnout among employees. On top of that, with a real-time dashboard, you can monitor wage costs and demand and adjust staffing levels based on sales and operational requirements.
Reporting and analytics
Workforce management reporting solutions for healthcare provide you with an abundance of actionable data. Detailed reports on attendance, leaves, patient feedback, clinical decision outcomes, and other metrics provide valuable insights for informed decision-making.
With the help of healthcare workforce analytics, managers can also gain visibility into key performance indicators such as top-performing doctors, highest-rated doctors, most common medical procedures, preferred insurance payers, etc.
High-quality software solutions enable you to achieve seamless compliance with labor laws, business rules, and union regulations. Highly configurable systems adapt to specific requirements of your organization and labor union agreements. You can also track all changes, and generate an easily accessible proof of compliance, even for employees working across multiple locations.
Effective software solutions provide you with comprehensive protection against insider threats, breaches, and malicious actions. This can include dual data encryption, adherence to HIPAA compliance standards, and regular data backups. And if anything goes wrong, you will receive rapid security alerts and on-demand security support.
A mobile healthcare workforce management app makes life easier for both managers and employees. When managers or administrators need to step away from their desks, a mobile app lets them check messages, access files, retrieve important data, communicate, and accomplish tasks while on the move. On the flip side, employees can conveniently access their schedules, clock in for work, provide feedback at the end of their shifts, and even initiate shift swaps if needed.
A comprehensive healthcare workforce management platform can offer seamless integrations with other medical solutions already in use, such as electronic health records, operating room systems, or credentialing and appointment scheduling systems. Smooth integrations enhance data accuracy and efficiency and ultimately drive better outcomes for both staff and patients.
Now, when it comes to selecting healthcare management software, you'll likely come across two primary choices - custom-made software and off-the-shelf solutions. In the next section, we'll delve into a discussion about which option is the most suitable to consider.
Custom-made software vs. off-the-shelf software
Off-the-shelf software refers to a ready-made software solution that is commercially available and can be used immediately without any customization. It is a standardized product that caters to a wide range of users, typically offered at a fixed price or subscription fee.
Custom software, on the other hand, is specifically developed to meet the unique needs and requirements of a particular business or organization. It is built from scratch or through modifications to existing software to align with the specific workflows and processes of the organization.
Both come with their benefits and downsides.
Pros of off-the-shelf solutions
- Fast implementation. Off-the-shelf solutions are ready for use and can be implemented immediately.
- Lower initial costs. Off-the-shelf solutions require smaller initial investments.
Cons of off-the-shelf solutions.
- Limited scalability. While the costs can be lower at the start, they can escalate as your business grows and you need to add new features.
- Limited flexibility. Good off-the-shelf vendors provide you with regular updates, but you can’t make any changes in the functionality on request.
- Integration problems. An off-the-shelf solution may not provide integrations with the software you’re already using. This can lead to a multiplication of ineffective processes and diminish the effectiveness of the solution.
Pros of custom workforce management software
- A perfect match. A custom-made solution offers all the features you need without the huge number of redundant features that make the user experience complicated.
- Flexibility and scalability. Custom software can be easily adapted and scaled according to your growing business needs.
- Dedicated support. A dedicated team is always available to address your inquiries and actively collaborate with you to implement necessary changes that enhance the productivity of the solution.
- Long-term profitability. While custom solutions may cost more initially, they eliminate the need for escalating subscription fees, making them a more profitable choice in the long run.
Cons of custom workforce management software
- Higher initial investment. A custom solution requires a larger initial investment to cover the costs of development.
- Longer development time. A custom solution is not readily available and will take time to develop, depending on the scale and complexity of the project.
Now, let's explore a real-world case study that showcases the successful implementation of a custom healthcare workforce management solution developed by Apiko.
Case Study: Novello Healthcare
Novello Healthcare, a leading healthcare staffing agency, faced challenges in managing their recruitment process and maintaining effective relationships with candidates and clients. The existing manual systems and disjointed processes resulted in inefficiencies, delayed placements, and difficulties in tracking candidate information.
To address these challenges, Novello Healthcare partnered with Apiko. Together, we developed a comprehensive nurse staffing software – a Recruitment App and CRM system tailored specifically to Novello Healthcare's unique needs and requirements.
The implementation of the Novello Healthcare Recruitment App and custom CRM system streamlined and automated the recruitment process. Manual effort and paperwork were significantly reduced, facilitating a faster hiring process.
On top of that, the integrated CRM module provided Novello Healthcare with a holistic view of candidate profiles, which improved the quality of placements, and enabled a fast and seamless assignment of shifts to available candidates.
Furthermore, the solution provided Novello with a clear view of the expected wages of each candidate and simplified the accounting and payroll process.
In the end, the automation and streamlining of processes reduced administrative burdens and enabled the organization to focus on core business operations and expand their services.
Workforce planning in healthcare: implementation tips
Now, let’s look at how healthcare organizations can successfully implement workforce optimization solutions. Here are the most important tips to follow.
- Get everyone on board. Explain to the staff why the digital transformation will free up their time for valuable work and decrease frustration with shift scheduling, overtime, and administrative tasks.
- Assign a change manager. The change manager will guide the direction of the implementation, communicate the process to employees, and ensure that everything runs smoothly.
- Save some time just in case. Even the best managers can’t foresee all potential difficulties. Build some buffer time into your implementation schedule in case there is an installation or configuration problem.
- Train your team. Work together with your team and the software vendor to create a training plan and provide employees with the necessary resources, such as reference manuals and videos. Generally, the more opportunities for training you can provide, the better.
The Future of Healthcare Technologies
As technology continues to advance, the healthcare workforce management systems market is embracing innovative solutions that will transform patient care and improve overall outcomes.
- IoT. Wearable devices and trackers provide real-time and detailed patient health data for doctors' observation. The Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) enhances patient awareness and enables instant behavior adjustments.
- Telemedicine. Telemedicine is a game-changing tool that enhances healthcare accessibility, cost-effectiveness, and patient engagement. With telemedicine software, patients can consult doctors from the comfort of their homes, eliminating the need for unnecessary waiting times and travel.
- Big data and predictive analytics. With big data processing and real-time analytics, decision-makers can make informed choices faster than ever before. Patients are now receiving accurate treatment plans and timely services, while healthcare providers can optimize staff performance and improve the quality of care.
Workforce management software for healthcare professionals is a well-established solution that helps hospitals and healthcare agencies improve staffing allocation, get rid of overstaffing and understaffing, and boost the quality of care.
With custom healthcare workforce management solutions, you have the chance to create software that seamlessly works with your existing systems, stands the test of time, and grows with your business. If you're interested in discussing your healthcare software project further, don't hesitate to reach out to Apiko. We're here to help bring your vision to life!