To achieve positive patient outcomes, hospitals have long understood they need to maintain the right staffing levels to meet patient care needs. However, hospitals cannot afford to overstaff. In fact, a recent Health Leaders survey found that controlling costs is a main focus of hospital CNOs and other administrators. Finding the balance that avoids both under- and over-staffing is a complex issue for hospitals. For example, a past report from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality noted an increase of just one hour to nurse shifts per patient day caused an 8.9 percent decrease in a surgical patient’s risk of contracting pneumonia. However, increasing nurse hours too much can lead to burnout, nurse dissatisfaction and overtime costs.
Controlling costs is only going to become a bigger imperative as hospitals transition to pay-for-performance models. Yet there’s a solution that creates a win-win for both the financial and clinical sides of the health system – optimized staffing.
Optimized staffing, or when hospitals maintain the right number of staff to deliver high-quality care while still managing labor costs effectively, is created when the financial and clinical sides of health systems are able to come together to understand the intricate links between financial and patient care outcomes. Technology can be used to help hospitals find that balance between under- and over-staffing to achieve optimized staffing. With access to reliable information about projected patient care needs and the ability to effectively adjust staffing before and during each shift, data-driven staffing enables healthcare executives to begin controlling their costs while still achieving high quality care outcomes.
For more information about how to leverage technology to achieve optimized staffing, take a look at the complimentary guide, “Three Reasons to Automate Staffing and Scheduling.”
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