Balancing the Business and the Mission of Healthcare

Nearly every hospital mission statement begins with a commitment to providing healthcare services and/or promoting health and well-being within the community it serves. In fact, almost every hospital mission statement I’ve ever read can be summed up by saying, “Our hospital delivers high quality patient care.”  It seems clear that hospitals are in the business of taking care of patients.

Yet, a recent survey found that less than 50% of nurses feel that the actions of the executives reflect the mission and values of the organization.

So, why do so many caregivers feel that executives are not focused on patient care? The survey researchers found that the disconnect happens when frontline staff don’t have the vital information they need to see the link between the mission of the organization and the actions of its executives.  And, that can lead to a drop in employee engagement and a lackluster commitment to adopting new strategies that hospitals are adopting to meet the challenges of external market forces.

Whether the misalignment between the business and mission of healthcare is actual or perceived, it is clearly manifested when it comes to staffing strategies. Nursing leadership can feel pressured to make sure they are fully utilizing resources in order to manage to a tight budget that demands labor cost containment. In turn, caregivers may feel as though they are being over-utilized, pushed too hard to work long hours and care for too many patients. And, while being asked to do ‘more with less,’ the clinical staff still needs to remain true to the mission of providing a high level of care to their patients. On the flip side, executives and the financial team are focused on the business side, working to maintain razor thin profit margins in spite of decreasing reimbursements, changing payment models and increased competition. Optimizing staff and maximizing productivity are critical to the financial health of the organization.

While both executives and clinicians are supporting the same mission of providing patient care, it can seem like the business and mission of healthcare are at odds with one another when critical information is not easily accessible. A paper-based staffing system can contribute greatly to the lack of useful staffing information, causing a wide chasm between optimal staffing and actual day-to-day staffing practices. Yet, a recent Becker’s Hospital Review survey of 95 healthcare executives found that only 40% of respondents utilize automation to enable staffing based on patient need.

Leveraging an automated staffing and scheduling system can help health systems achieve optimized staffing, where staffing decisions are data-driven and evidence-based. Schedules and patient assignments are based on patient need and staff skill sets and availability. Rather than trying to bridge a wide chasm, executives and staff can clearly, efficiently and effectively drive toward the goal of high quality, affordable patient care. To learn more about how automation can help health systems deliver on their mission, check out our 20-minute webinar, “Acuity-based Staffing and Patient Satisfaction: Making the Connection.”

 

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1 comment

  1. Abigail Higgins

    Amazing post…

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