In today’s healthcare landscape, staff shortages, rapidly escalating labor costs, and complex healthcare scheduling environments pose significant challenges for providers. But with the right focus on data, technology, and flexibility, healthcare providers can reduce their reliance on costly staffing agencies.
Here, UKG Chief Nurse Executive Nanne Finis and University of Rochester Medical Center Chief Digital Health Officer Michael Hasselberg explain how organizations can reclaim control of the scheduling process to create happier employees and achieve better results.
3 ways to reduce your reliance on healthcare staffing agencies
- Data: Data plays a very important role in healthcare staffing. “The old way of doing things is not working, and there’s an opportunity there,” says Hasselberg. “We have to change, we have to pivot, and we have to start thinking differently.” By harnessing the power of data, healthcare providers can gain valuable insights into their real-time staffing and scheduling needs and identify immediate and long-term shift vulnerabilities, proactively addressing staff shortages before they arise.
- Technology: Technology also plays a crucial role in healthcare scheduling and addressing the staffing crisis. “I don’t think there’s a way to do this challenging scheduling without technology,” says Finis. Using technology solutions allows health systems to become more agile and adaptable, enabling them to quickly identify and communicate changing demands with their staff.
- Flexibility in staffing: By approaching healthcare scheduling through the lens of flexibility, organizations empower their staff to take better control of their work-life balance, minimizing burnout and alleviating stress-induced absenteeism. There are groups and segments within the workforce that are being under-utilized, and part of that is due to the rigidity of scheduling practices within healthcare. By adopting more flexible and adaptable healthcare scheduling processes, organizations can ensure they are fully leveraging their internal workforce before turning to outside hires.
Healthcare scheduling: Where should you begin?
While these key takeaways are valuable across varied healthcare environments, it’s important to acknowledge that not all healthcare organizations are at the same stage in their technology adoption journey and each stage requires a different approach.
Early-stage adoption: For organizations in the early stage of technology adoption, the key challenge is often a lack of knowledge and resources, and perhaps a feeling of being overwhelmed with the prospect of change and where to start. They might be thinking, “I'm still using Post-it notes and spreadsheets to track absences and vacant shifts. How do I even start to implement technology solutions?” Healthcare providers at this stage should focus on identifying quick wins and evaluating their current processes to identify the most significant sources of inefficiency. There really is no better time than the present to get started.
Mid-stage adoption: For those in the mid-stage of technology adoption, the main obstacle is often introducing new technology into their existing systems. They may ask themselves, “How do I ensure that new software doesn’t end up creating more work in the long run, or become a shiny tool on the shelf that is not well adopted?” The solution at this stage is seamless integration into the current environment and being intentional about user adoption and change management.
Advanced adoption: Healthcare organizations in advanced stages of technology adoption are often challenged by ensuring that their technology solutions remain effective and continue to meet their evolving needs. They may be wondering, “How do I stay ahead of emerging trends in scheduling technology?” The key at this stage is to prioritize technologies that deliver the most impactful outcomes and are future proofed to meet evolving needs.
To learn more about these issues and their solutions, check out the full webinar.