Turn Healthcare Workforce Data into a Strategic Asset: Three Examples
Healthcare leaders have a data problem. The sophistication and breadth of available healthcare workforce data continues to expand, but using that data in an effective way to make informed decisions is as difficult as ever. In an interview with Michael Dean, Director of Business Development at Juice Analytics (a HealthStream partner company), Dean shared a story about a leading senior care organization and their issues with the 30 separate dashboards needed just to understand their workforce data. He explained that of the 30 only 5 are actually used, and even among them, the data rarely matches.
Dean also shared a 2013 article from Becker’s Hospital Review indicating that “a hospital’s workforce accounts for 54.2% of a hospital’s overall operating costs.” How can a management team make good decisions on their most important resources when the data is dispersed across so many sources? Dean has seen similar pain points from dozens of conversations with HR leadership: “Since people are a huge investment, the hospital needs to make sure that it’s hiring and retaining the best people. Once hired, though, how does a HR leader keep an enterprise view of the workforce and how do they identify problem areas quickly? It is a huge undertaking to make sure that each department is staffed properly and that staffing issues are identified before they grow into major issues.”
Dean adds that it is very common for the average HR decision-maker to consult multiple layers of data in order to develop an understanding of the criteria for decisions. Even when there’s a team surveying important data, Dean says that “often as many as 50% of them are looking at only 10% of the relevant dashboards.” This kind of “silo-limited” focus leaves almost no one with a full grasp of the data picture necessary to make sound, data-driven decisions.
Blueprint Transforms Workforce Data into an Asset
Juice Analytics has launched Blueprint, a solution to this persistent organizational problem in healthcare. Blueprint uses data from a healthcare organization’s existing HRIS system to create “a Google map for your organization’s workforce.” This solution enables health system executives and managers to look at the entire workforce data picture at a high level with the ability, like a Google map, to zoom in to answer important workforce questions, such as:
- How big of a problem is turnover for our organization? Where are our turnover “hot spots” by facility, department, supervisor, and even job title?
- Are we putting the right staff in the right places to efficiently meet patient volume?
- How do we compare to other healthcare organizations in terms of our staffing levels and common staffing ratios?
- In what areas of the organization are we doing the most hiring? And where are we augmenting staff with contract labor?
HR and operations leaders use Blueprint to explore their workforce, and to drill down to whatever data subset is appropriate—changing how they make decisions. In addition, Juice overlays data from over 60% of the healthcare market to provide meaningful benchmarking. This comparison data makes Blueprint a powerful and unique decision-making engine. By comparing themselves against others in the industry, healthcare systems can understand what they are doing well and the areas where they need serious improvement. Blueprint helps healthcare leaders turn data into an asset and allows them to capitalize on its use.
Ultimately, using workforce data as efficiently and effectively as possible is vital for healthcare leaders. In an industry like healthcare, where margins are often quite small, costly mistakes can have an outsize impact. When choices must be made that impact patients, everyone involved in decisions must have full awareness of every relevant factor and metric. Blueprint can help you change your relationship with your data and turn it into an asset rather than a complication.
Three Examples of Blueprint in Action
- One acute care hospital customer was having trouble gathering data about residents spread across multiple departments. Due to the limitations of their HRIS system, they couldn’t answer important questions about how many residents were on staff and where they were located at a given moment. Blueprint helped locate them within the organization to the department level by accessing disparate feeds from different HRIS systems. All within a matter of a few clicks.
- The Chief Human Resource Officer of a senior residential community needed to get a handle on turnover. Though organization-wide data was readily available, the executive needed to understand his organization’s turnover problem by facility, by department, by job category, and even by staff tenure. With access to Blueprint, this customer could compare turnover by supervisor, uncovering patterns of success and failure, and identify best practices for retaining staff.
- Another care organization with turnover challenges wanted to determine what is and is not working. Focusing on span of control, the decision maker used Blueprint to assess managers by numbers of direct reports and effectiveness. With a full data picture, the customer was able to identify factors driving turnover, such as competency, experience, care safety, and experience.
API Healthcare/GE Healthcare, “The Financial Impact of Acuity-based Staffing: An Executive Priority” (2014)
Herman, Bob, “10 Statistics on Hospital Labor Costs as a Percentage of Operating Revenue,” Becker’s Healthcare, (2013), accessed at http://www.beckershospitalreview.com/finance/10-statistics-on-hospital-labor-costs-as-a-percentage-of-operating-revenue.html.