Healthcare organizations are increasing focus on how workforce management technologies influence day to day operations across the enterprise. Integrated systems lend significant advantages over interfaced technology systems for labor metric visibility and ability to take effective labor actions. Understanding the basic differences of integration versus an interface will provide realistic expectations for system performance, metric evaluation, and data-driven decision-making capacity.
Many organizations seek to provide a data and information rich environment where the right action is the easiest action in the technology. An integrated technology solution provides opportunity to achieve optimal labor metric evaluation and action with minimal administrative touchpoints because real-time information is available. This maximizes data visibility, enhances labor tool usability, and allows conducive workflows that will guide end-users towards correct decision-making.
Here are the top 3 reasons why integrated systems deliver better results:
#1 Single source of truth
Integrated time and scheduling systems provide a single source of truth for labor data while eliminating duplication of administrative tasks since schedules and timecards are always synchronized. For example, with an integrated time and scheduling solution, pay code input on the schedule automatically transcribes to the timecard. This also pertains to schedule management actions such as shift swaps, cost center or job transfers, and administrator approvals or changes – all will transfer automatically from the schedule to the timecard in real-time with an integrated solution. This reduces administrative burdens, enhances compliance by reducing data entry touchpoints, and workflow consolidation creates end-user buy-in.
As an example, a single schedule change such as an addition of a pay code in an integrated solution, like UKG Dimensions, conducts the following actions in unison and in real-time with no other end-user intervention:
- Employee accrual balance is checked
- Employee schedule is updated
- Open shift is created that can be filled if needed
- Open shift is displayed to other staff members who are eligible for the shift
- Shift coverage is updated
- Hours Per Patient Day (HPPD) is updated
- Employee attendance calendar is updated
- Timecard is populated with the pay code
- Analytics including associated productivity is updated
#2 Proactive versus reactive
Another fundamental advantage of an integrated time and scheduling solution is the ability to manage labor proactively. When time and scheduling systems are integrated, actual and scheduled hours are continuously compared so leaders and employees can be alerted to critical variances in real time. For example, should an employee scheduled to their full-time equivalent (FTE) in a pay period elect to pick up an additional shift – the system will recognize this employee is already scheduled to their FTE. The system can provide the manager a notification to review this potential overtime (OT) before it occurs. Additionally, an integrated solution delivers the ability to evaluate other available employee capacity in real-time to minimize OT costs and provide staffing resource options to fulfill staffing needs.
#3 Real-time data access
Data availability is another key difference between an interfaced versus an integrated time and scheduling solution. Interfaced solutions typically load labor data at prescribed time intervals configured by the organization. This cadence dependence does not allow real-time data to be available for critical labor decisions, or prospective labor management because actual and scheduled hours are not compared until the interface cadence occurs. An interfaced solution provides retrospective labor metric evaluation including OT and clocking discrepancies. This may evoke difficulties for leaders to have accurate labor metrics for real-time decision-making capability. An interface also requires maintenance to ensure accurate data transcription when any changes occur to the time or scheduling system.
Integrated workforce management solution
Technology providing necessary data and information to meld labor supply to care demands has become a priority in today’s healthcare landscape. Integrated solutions make the right labor action the easy action. Prospective insight to labor variances with correction alerts and action guidance, reduction of duplicate or redundant tasks involving shift, leave, absence, OT, and productivity, all while preserving a single source of labor data truth summarize the true benefits an organization can realize through an integrated solution. This allows leaders to enhance focus on patient care initiatives while ensuring the right labor management decisions are made at the right time with the right resources. Being familiar with basic points of how integration and interfaces effect labor metrics provide an enterprise-wide opportunity to evaluate and streamline operational workflows to achieve a comprehensive and sustainable workforce management technology strategy.
Learn more about how UKG Dimensions delivers an integrated solution that benefits your entire healthcare workforce.