The goal of workforce management systems is to aid in the strategic planning of workforce activities while monitoring, supporting and informing laborforce needs. Healthcare worforce management systems are helping reduce administrative costs by increasing resource utilization efficiencies and reducing the strain of management processes, which can be time consuming and expensive.
Workforce management used to mean lots of filing, organizing and administrative work. More often than not, too much time was dedicated to sifting through paperwork instead of working with patients.
Tackling the mountains of paperwork meant extra staff to handle these tasks, and more money budgeted to pay them. Errors often went undiscovered for long periods of time because they were missed in the constant paper shuffle.
Computer spreadsheets helped somewhat in cutting the time devoted to administrative tasks, but there were issues here as well. Scheduling, payroll and even work-hour logs usually are recorded using separate programs, so consolidating this data proved cumbersome. Cleaning up the different workforce management processes was critical in order for hospitals to lower administrative costs and raise productivity.
Healthcare providers now use highly customizable IT systems. For instance, they can set up schedules exploring whether a physician’s specialty affects clinical availability, avoiding potential scheduling conflicts with patients.
IT technology can make sure each department has the right staff in place, which ultimately helps patients receive the highest level of care. They can also ensure that:
· Vacation requests are approved and scheduled around
· Staff members work the appropriate amount of hours (a cost saving measure)
· Adequate personnel is always scheduled to work varying shifts.
IT systems are replacing paper based methods of information organization. Costs potentially will be lower when it comes to transcription and chart-pulling as the processes will be more consolidated. Fewer medical errors will be made since physicians will have better access to patient data. That also will lower administrative costs.
When it comes to accounting, IT systems can help hospital decision makers by providing them information about resources and whether they’re used efficiently. Forecasting overtime pay is an example of a cost addressed by IT programs because it shows exactly what the minimum staffing requirements are during a given pay period.
Analytics and IT programs also impact the billing issues of healthcare practices. Successfully implementing them will affect things such as:
· Reducing the time and resources needed for manually inputting charges, meaning fewer billing errors and lowering the expenses associated with them
· Alerts prompting providers to secure Advance Beneficiary Notice (a liability waiver sent when a provider offers a service or item they don’t think Medicare covers), reducing the number of claim denials and lost charges related to them.
Workforce data paired with analytics give insight into addressing many different needs of healthcare facilities. They highlight issues such as extra personnel or lack thereof during billing cycles, in addition to organizing and eliminating much administrative work. All of these things can help lower a practice's expenses.
Becoming more efficient with scheduling and administrative work boosts return on investment and encourages a more robust revenue cycle. This creates a more cost-friendly healthcare practice and more consistent, higher quality patient care.