However, creating an action plan for staff retention is one portion of good workforce productivity. Another area that can significantly improve workflow, help manage delegation, and improve the likely success of any healthcare IT project is workforce analytics. Workforce analytics goes beyond HR reports. It is a massive pile of data that when taken advantage of to its full potential, can give executives an insight as to what the next best steps in a process should be. Taking the guess work out of business plans that are not going accordingly through analytics will give a hospital a better chance of at least surviving, and potentially completing a big implementation successfully.
From gathering individual employee success/satisfaction probability to delegating budgets for short term and long term goals, the use of Workforce Analytics has done just this for the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, NJ. The software, developed by Kronos allowed them to have an insight of each department and whether each department was properly staffed. Christine Silvia, Productivity Manager at the RWJ, New Brunswick location stated that even the analytics gathered from the Kronos implementation allowed them to better control and create a mainstream plan for implementing this software in different locations. The data has allowed Christine and other executives at RWJ to better analyze the employee trends without a single layoff or dismissal of employees.
All of this is great for the maintenance, success, and general happiness of full time employees and permanent staff. However, how can it be used to retain Healthcare IT contract staff? Being able to intelligently predict staff outcomes during a big implementation, a merger, or simply analyzing employee success through beginning, mid, end, and post projects can be gathered through workforce analytics. This may seem more difficult for contractors on healthcare IT projects as their data is usually handled by a 3rd party. However, specialized data from these 3rd party firms and VMS systems should be made available. Though more restricted; a basic breakdown on how time is being utilized and spent, along with contractor feedback to administration is valuable info that hospitals should be requiring from the vendors they work with. The data can provide the hospital IT departments with variations in the level of productivity for individual workers, point out who should be extended, and who should be let go, increase the likelihood of on time deliveries, isolate areas for potential cost reduction, and improve the probability a healthcare IT / EMR projects’ on-time /to budget delivery. These reports can help hospitals with their on-going planning for future projects /upgrades, assist in identifying what were the challenges faced by using shorter term Contractors, and may help in identifying solutions to avoid losing staff halfway through a project.
As with all software, there is a cost associated with implementing a Workflow Analytics system. The cost comes in 3 forms. The money to purchase the software in the first place. The time it takes in implement the program and train the users to effectively run the system and finally, the on-going expense in time needed to input the raw data that makes workflow analytics function at all. However, with all that being said, despite the increased cost and work hours spent, Workflow Analytics has the potential to deliver visible savings on a continued basis, once implemented. The RWJ University Hospital reported an initial saving of $10M+ and expects this figure to keep on increasing. The ROI on Workforce Analytics should at least give some food for thought among Hospital CIOs.
Written by Bettsy Farias, Researcher, Global Healthcare IT.
Edited by Mike Williams, CEO, Global Healthcare IT, Inc.