6 Reasons Healthcare Organizations Need Demand-Driven Schedulingby Dragana Milovanović
In healthcare, managing demand is not just a business decision. While other companies can temporarily decline orders or mandate overtime when their production can’t keep up, clinics, hospitals, laboratories and other related facilities don’t have this privilege. For them, not having the right number of staff on board can be a matter of life and death.
It is these staffing challenges in the healthcare space that inspired us to build Demand-Driven Scheduling within TCP’s Humanity platform. This tool has been designed to help organizations find savings, improve productivity and empower staff. See how its features translate to benefits for your healthcare facility.
Balancing Staffing and Demand
Overworked medical professionals can’t spare too much time on creating schedules, especially if they don’t have a single system of employee records nor a clear insight into demand. The lack of resources forces them to use the same schedules week after week, adjusting them along the way. This repetitive process may seem efficient, but it doesn’t reflect the dynamic nature of the organization and can often lead to staffing shortage or surplus.
Demand-Driven Scheduling brings together powerful scheduling capabilities and your unique demand data, so managers can quickly create optimized shifts. Demand data are pulled into Humanity Scheduling as staffing rules, enabling managers to evaluate and optimize existing schedules or quickly build new ones from scratch.
Aligning with Staffing Policies
The power of Demand-Driven Scheduling happens behind the scenes. It’s a robust rule builder that can transform any data or policy to a functional staffing rule. Some of these policies may be mandated by law, such as obligatory physician-patient ratios, while others are unique to the organizational structure. Here are some of the examples of data that can be used as a foundation for creating staffing rules:
- Census data
- Patient acuity and dependency
- Staffing and safety protocols
- Labor law regulations
- Historical trends and patterns
- Staff members’ availability, qualifications and skills
- Staffing ratios
Once the data is in the Humanity platform, the scheduling engine treats them as constraints in the shift-building process, making the scheduling process that much more seamless.
Avoiding Staffing Gaps
One of the most prominent features of Demand-Driven Scheduling is the Staffing Level graph. This comprehensive visual tool shows how shifts and demand relate to one another, clearly exposing staffing gaps such as understaffing and overstaffing.
The Staffing Level graph is an indispensable tool for managers who choose to fine-tune their schedules manually. It reflects all changes in real time, so managers can adjust the number of employees, working hours, open slots and more, and immediately see how their decisions affect the schedule on a daily or weekly level.
According to Shaping the Physician of the Future research conducted by Deloitte, physicians feel that 18% of their work today could be automated. Why shouldn’t this apply to employee scheduling?
Demand-Driven Scheduling sets the stage for optimized, automated scheduling. After the staffing rules have been defined, the next step is initiating auto-scheduling tools that will create and assign shifts for you. Managers are enabled to set additional guidelines based on staff’s availability, seniority, overtime or any other policies. After that, it only takes a few clicks to get from a blank to complete roster.
Keeping Labor Costs in Control
It’s common knowledge that overtime is a staple in the healthcare industry. However, that doesn’t mean that we should give up on trying to minimize it and its toll on employees and the labor budget. By making sure your schedules are in line with the expected demand, you can reduce the risk of unplanned overtime or scrapping for an extra pair of hands in the nick of time. Not only will your staff be grateful, but you’ll also see improvements in your bottom line.
Additionally, Demand-Driven Scheduling and automated tools help you manage compliance risks that can have a steep price if schedules are built in haste. Rules like rest and meal breaks, time off between shifts, minimum and maximum daily and weekly working hours and more can be set up directly within the Humanity Scheduling app, making sure schedule creators are alerted about any conflicts.
Retaining Top Performers
To keep their talent, healthcare executives need to think beyond the paycheck. Conflict-free shift schedules that strike a balance between the organization’s goals and employees’ needs can definitely be a factor that tips the scale in your favor. Moreover, providing your schedulers with an easy-to-use tool that will save them a significant amount of time isn’t a small feat. Demand-Driven Scheduling checks both of these boxes with an ideal match of intuitive interface and sophisticated capabilities, designed to empower teams and send them on their way.