How analytics can help healthcare organizations and professionals.
Hospitals have never been early adopters of enterprise software. They understand that advanced tech can help streamline processes and ensure efficient internal systems, yet they still consider it more of a “nice-to-have” than a critical need. But is it possible that this lack of investment is significantly affecting employee productivity, including staff, physicians and nurses?
According to a study published by the Ponemon Institute and Imprivata, hospitals in the U.S. lose $8.3 billion dollars a year due to outdated communication methods and software — and decreased employee productivity plays a major role in these losses.
While innovative medical treatments are being developed at lightning speed, communications technology, which sends and receives electronic health records and allows different providers to exchange important information, has failed to keep pace. Even though many hospitals and healthcare organizations have adopted chart conversion and begun shifting to electronic patient information and digital file services, there is still significant room for improvement when it comes to efficiency and productivity.
In the Ponemon/Imprivata study, more than 500 healthcare professionals cited clunky pagers, unreliable Wi-Fi and the inability to text as the most frustrating factors, with limited communication leading to longer patient discharge times overall. It’s clear that the outdated technology plaguing the medical industry poses a significant drain on valuable resources.
Additionally, as baby boomers age out of the workforce, the medical field is facing a persistent shortage of skilled workers to fill positions such as nurse, physician and lab technician. As the pool of professionals decrease, hospitals are scrambling to find millennials willing to step in. But having grown accustomed to instantaneous and cutting-edge technology, young workers are increasingly put off by these antiquated systems.
What can hospitals do to increase productivity? And how do they get hospital staff on board? The first step is to implement employee usage analytics to identify inefficiencies and develop targeted solutions.
Employee analytics track users’ experiences and engagement with enterprise software applications, gathering data by measuring workflow, application response times and error message frequency. This information is enormously beneficial because it provides insight and metrics for employers to make informed improvements and adjustments that address the root causes of problems. With insights into the actual employee experience, hospitals can better understand what changes will enable workers to be more productive and happier, whether it’s replacing or upgrading applications, designing a more user-friendly interface or offering additional training.
Once processes are enforced, continuing to track and measure their effects is crucial: Which changes are the most effective and why? Which deliver positive results most quickly? What are the downsides, if any? Do the benefits outweigh the costs? Have workforce efficiencies and employee engagement increased?
Ultimately, employee usage analytics can help reduce patient wait times and increase quality of care by ensuring that medical professionals have the tools they need to perform their jobs efficiently and successfully. The data uncovered through analytics can also help hospitals to streamline processes, remove bottlenecks, facilitate prompt communication and smooth workflow. A side benefit is increased staff morale.
Of course, some hospitals do have legitimate reasons to postpone upgrading to digital methods, and they are mostly budget-related. However, an investment in enterprise applications is an investment in the hospital staff, which in turn leads to better overall patient care. Hospitals looking to make improvements in both quality of care and staff retention should take a hard look at how clunky tech is affecting their staff. Implementing employee analytics is a proven method for addressing these issues head-on.
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