Creating an advantage in healthcare with workforce analytics

Happier employees enable better patient quality care

​Improving the lives of patients, the health of communities, just might be dependent on the joy and engagement of the health care workforce. Health care workers should be on top of their game every day, working to enable the best possible outcome for every single patient. It's not always easy, but it's so important in this field of work.


When you ask a health care worker why they do what they do, the response often is because they wanted to help people. That's where the joy of the job comes to fruition. They want to help make people better, cure or prevent disease, and give family members good news. While there's a lot of wonderful that goes on in health care every day, there will always be opportunity for improvement, especially as technology and research advances.

The answer to better patient quality care, under the pressure of cost constraints and improvement strategies, may be in a happier workforce. Happier employees tend to lead to happier patients. Organizations can make a positive impact in a relatively short amount of time if they center on three key initiatives:

  • Insightful scheduling
  • Continuous employee engagement and empowerment
  • Robust digital interaction with their employer that gets people back to doing what they love, taking care of patients

All are within reach and can produce positive outcomes. Better employee and patient experiences impact word of mouth, competitiveness, attrition, and team-building. It’s really about making life easier, more flexible, and more rewarding for health care workers. It is, after all, a people-run business.

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Demonstrated benefits of insightful scheduling

Demands on the health care system are bound to increase and the industry is already experiencing staff shortages, especially in nursing. When a floor is staffed too low to handle the demand, or workers are overworked and disengaged, metrics related to quality patient care can suffer.

Being smart about how health workers are staffed will become an increasingly important business initiative. One study published by Health Care Management Review shows that nurse staffing is essential for the delivery of high-quality patient care—metrics such as reductions in adverse events, decreased length of stay, and more efficient care processes, all improve. The study noted that nurse staffing can provide a competitive advantage to hospitals with higher patient satisfaction levels, and as a result, better financial performance.

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Accomplishing effectiveness without sacrificing quality

If health care and nursing supervisors had scheduling analysis capabilities, a compound task could become easier. Staffing health care workers can be complex. Holding supervisors accountable for unknowns when lives are at stake often results in scheduling unnecessary hours. With the right analytics and insight into staff schedules, people can gain confidence in staffing decisions. They can increase worker satisfaction and the quality of care in their organization while staying in the right cost structure by:

  • Reducing fatigue and overload
  • Hitting on-call staffing benchmarks
  • Predicting demand
  • Staffing fairer

However, to keep workers happy, scheduling should involve more than just managing overtime effectively. It should be designed so the employee is more engaged with his or her work. It should allow for flexibility and be meaningful.

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Drivers for an engaged health care workforce

• Workload, balance, and stress

• Meaningful work

• Hands-on management

• Positive work environment

• Growth opportunity

• Trust in leadership

Finding the right balance to labor

Nothing affects engagement like burnout. How much someone is expected to do in a timeframe should be reasonable and stress levels manageable. When people have to work overtime consistently, it's often harder to be enthusiastic about the job, even if paid fairly. The effect? Patients can leave with a negative experience. It has an impact on the quality of their patient interactions. It's not good for anyone.

Analytics can identify healthcare workforce shortages that result in incremental overtime. Generally, there should only be seven to nine missed breaks annually per employee, more tend to indicate staff shortages. If staff are getting called back to the floor regularly, and missing lunch or working through lunch, the system can help identify when and why it's happening. That can be good for employees, patient quality care, and patient satisfaction. Digitizing employee staffing experiences can also increase engagement and make it easier for people to interact with their supervisors on scheduling issues and even vacation time.

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Digital interactions on staffing help increase employee satisfaction

Millennials tend to be digitally dependent. Their ability to get information quickly is their life experience. It's a table-stakes for providers. People should have easy access to their schedules. Millennials typically want schedules that are more flexible and aligned with the work they're passionate about. Allowing them to swap shifts from their phone with approvals offers flexibility, greater control, and work-life balance—all contributing to a more engaged workforce.

Metrics and scheduling tools can hit the engagement button, which can lead to happier employees and better patient outcomes. With the right tools, staffing specialists can not only staff more efficiently, but also staff with intention and cost structure.

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Analytics, digital interactions, and metrics showcasing clearer insights into staffing are tools that health care organizations can use to hit the health grade and enable the type of work-life balance that many employees will expect over the next few decades.

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