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Workforce systems can help patients, too

Workforce systems aren’t just for employees and employers, patients benefit as well.
By Deane Hornsby

At some point during our lives, all of us are going to rely on the support of an aged-care professional, be it assisting a loved one or for ourselves. We trust them to protect those most dear to us, meaning it’s in our best interest that they are empowered with the tools and technologies to deliver an incredibly valued and important service. After all, when a health or aged-care provider has a happy and productive workforce, it translates to quality care and a more effective organisation.

Today, health and aged-care providers have access to new workforce management solutions that automate paper-based and cumbersome manual processes, helping them improve productivity.

Organisations that automate and integrate their workforce management are reducing overtime by a third, increasing productivity by 20 per cent, and improving organisational processes, Aberdeen research has shown. Embracing new technology is granting health and aged-care professionals time back in their day to focus on their main responsibility – delivering a valued service of patient care.

For providers looking to benefit from new technologies in the healthcare industry, here are my top tips.

Improve workforce planning
Many healthcare providers are looking to technology to help them enrich their workforce planning capabilities. However, without the process and systems that grant visibility into the labour pool, providers will struggle to achieve their goals. In today’s data-driven world, instant and accurate information is required to make informed decisions. Fully integrated and automated workforce management tools can help limit agency hours, control overtime and assign the best staff to the patients’ needs.

Make IT simple
Having to log the time worked is an inconvenience we all face – regardless of industry. New biometric technologies allow employees to quickly and easily log in and out of their shifts. Systems can automatically upload the employees’ time into the HR system for payment, meaning there is no manual data entry and therefore less room for error. Additionally, it allows the healthcare provider to track those on shift, and seamlessly assign those on duty to the appropriate patients.

Respond to needs in real time
Managers need real-time visibility into their workforce so they can decide how to respond to any issues. When business leaders rely on traditional reports and spreadsheets, too often critical questions go unanswered and opportunities for improvement are lost. The value greater transparency creates cannot be discounted. When employees have a clear understanding of scheduling policies and attendance rules, less time is wasted looking for information. This fosters organisational trust, which leads to improved employee engagement, higher productivity and decisions that are more informed, resulting in an enhanced patient experience and better clinical outcomes.

Embrace the cloud
By embracing a cloud platform, organisations will be able to reap the full benefits of a mobile workforce working in unison. Employees will be able to access important documents from anywhere, allowing them to make informed decisions without being limited by aged technology infrastructure. Implementing a managed cloud solution would also free up internal IT support to focus on critical business demands and innovations.

Create a thriving culture
Last but not least, a management team that equips a workforce with the tools to do the job better and empowers them to thrive will usually see increased productivity. Employees innately strive to do better when they feel they have the tools to do their jobs, are respected and appreciated. Good culture comes from the top. I have seen firsthand the time that goes to waste in the healthcare industry when these processes aren’t adopted. For healthcare providers that want to lead in the industry, the tips outlined here will enable the creation of a thriving culture that allows them to remain competitive in the increasingly global economy. These simple tweaks to practice can have a big impact on the future prosperity of their organisation, and will result in better care for those who need it most.

Deane Hornsby is the marketing director for Kronos Australia and New Zealand.

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