lean healthcare management Healthcare executives are continually on the lookout for strategies that deliver both cost savings and improved quality of care. Traditionally, staff layoffs were the go-to solution for reducing costs. But recent studies reveal that patient outcomes improve when the nurse-to-patient ratio is low. And under a value-based reimbursement model, it is critical to achieve the desired patient outcome as quickly and with as few mistakes as possible to achieve maximum return. Layoffs a Short-Term Fix Layoffs, as a cost cutting measure, should be implemented as a last resort, according to Mark Graban, Lean expert and author of “Hospital Kaizen.” While layoffs will lower operational cost in the short term, it may bring about bigger problems in the long term in the form of negative patient outcomes. Instead, many hospital executives are tearing a page from the manufacturing industry in the adoption of Lean healthcare management. Lean healthcare management is a process where inefficiency and waste are identified and eliminated from hospital processes to reduce cost and/or improve employee productivity. Graban explains, “Lean is actually the best alternative to layoffs. It’s all about encouraging everyone to participate in the process improvement. As well as finding creative and [+]

The U.S. healthcare system is going to have to replace approximately 555,100 nurses through 2022 just to replace nurse attrition, according to estimates from the American Nurses Association. That’s in addition to the 574,400 new nurses that will be required to adequately care for aging boomers and additional patients as a result of the Affordable Care Act. The ANA recommends federal action on a number of fronts including funding for nursing education to help in meeting the demand. Currently, nursing schools are turning away qualified applicants due to lack of nursing faculty and teaching facilities. In the meantime, many hospitals and their healthcare staffing agencies are scrambling to source qualified medical professionals to fill open positions as well as prepare a talent pipeline for the future. Sue Higgins, Product Development Manager at StayStaffed and Candidate Direct, has the solution to help hospitals and healthcare staffing agencies stay ahead of the game in a rapidly changing environment, “Our clients have been able to avoid many of the problems that others’ are experiencing in a rapidly changing healthcare environment. By using our vendor management system (VMS), clients gain access to the Candidate Direct Marketplace®, a national database of 400+ healthcare [+]

Nursing Staff Engagement Key to Retention and Performance Research consistently shows that sustainably engaged employees outperform their non-engaged coworkers. Even a small improvement in productivity can have a positive effect on your organization’s performance and competitiveness. ~ Towers Watson It’s difficult enough to keep employee engagement at high levels during the best of times, let alone in times of massive change. We’re now nearly five years into the Affordable Care Act and many healthcare employees are experiencing ‘change fatigue’ in addition to the normal wear and tear that tough economic times has on people. For many healthcare providers, it’s a good time to use re-engagement strategies to boost morale, retention, and performance. HR consulting firm, Towers Watson, has been studying workforce engagement in the healthcare industry for several years and has “consistently seen a strong relationship between higher levels of engagement and higher levels of retention.” Further, when employee engagement improves, so too does performance in the form of better patient outcomes, HCAHPS scores, and reduced safety incidents among other metrics.

Healthcare Reform

Highly Negative about Healthcare Reform In one Towers Watson study, nearly 90% of healthcare workers reported that they held highly negative emotions about the long-term [+]

If you’ve hired a newly-licensed RN, there’s a 1 in 5 chance they’ll leave within their first year on the job, according to a study by the RN Work Project. If they make it past the first year, you’re facing 1 in 3 odds that they’ll leave before completion of their second year of employment. By the 8th year on the job, only 40% of newly-licensed nurses will still be working for your facility. These are just some of the study results of the RN Work Project, through funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, to study the career path of newly-licensed registered nurses. The study began in 2006 to survey new nurses and track their career trajectory. The study ends in 2015. The goal is to understand the reasons behind nurse turnover so that healthcare providers can improve recruitment and retention strategies. Cost of nurse turnover The Cost of Nurse Turnover Registered Nurses play a pivotal role in the profitability of healthcare facilities. The financial cost for the turnover of each nurse is estimated to be twice their annual salary. For each percentage increase in nurse turnover, hospitals are estimated to lose $300,000 in profit. To give [+]

VMS Technology for healthcare staffing and recruiting For years now healthcare recruiters have been under enormous pressure to keep their own or client facilities fully staffed. With phones ringing all day from potential candidates, a bursting at the seams email inbox, and hiring managers clamouring to urgently fill open positions, it can be difficult for medical recruiters to stay organized and productive. But it doesn’t have to be that way. A Vendor Management System (VMS) that interfaces with a national marketplace of healthcare professionals can not only streamline your recruiting process, but open your candidate sourcing to the entire country. “We realized significant savings almost immediately. With our first FTE hired through Candidate Direct, we saved $6,200. Candidate Direct gave us more candidates to choose from at more competitive rates. I wish all systems were this easy to use.” Curious? Read on to see how healthcare facilities and staffing agencies can benefit. No Investment Required  Let’s begin by asking a question. If you were offered a no-cost, easy-to-use web-based IT solution to source, recruit, procure and manage contingent and direct hire needs, would you accept the offer? We’re not talking about a [+]

Today’s in-store healthcare clinics have evolved to offer a further level of healthcare, including testing and vaccination, treatment of minor wounds and common family ailments, along with routine wellness exams. Many of these new clinics are staffed by Physician Assistants and Nurse Practitioners, in addition to RN’s — and have ready access to Pharmacists’ expertise.

As in real-estate, one of the most important factors in healthcare staffing is "location, location, location." Registered Nurses remain the most in-demand, and most advertised-for, job title in the US. Many staffing analysts believe that a significant component of the increase in help-wanted advertising is due to the lack of qualified RN's in the locations where they're needed most -- while in other areas there are more than enough RN's to meet demand.

Healthcare employers in the Northeast are no doubt aware of the Massachusetts Nursing Association's recent efforts in support of a referendum that enforces minimum nurse-patient ratios. nurse patient ratiosThe Lowell Sun reports that the proposed legislation calls for 1 nurse for every 4 med/surg patients. In emergency departments, nurses would care for between 1 and 3 patients depending on patient conditions. Nurses in critical care units would look after between 1 and 2 patients. Healthcare employers in violation would face a $25,000 per day fine. Nursing Association advocates can look to many studies that show that reduced nurse-patient ratios improve patient outcomes. Still other studies, such as a 2004 Review in the Journal of Nursing Administration show that improved patient outcomes are based on a constellation of factors, including medical staff skills, hospital management, and patient mix, as well as nurse-to-patient ratios. A similar conclusion was drawn in this 2007 study determining that lower nurse-patient ratios correlated with improved patient outcomes -- although the relationship was not necessarily causal. While Massachusetts state lawmakers have been reluctant to order a solution to the bridge the gap between nurses and hospitals, the nurses association says voters have supported [+]

According to the Q2 Randstad Healthcare Employee Confidence Index, healthcare workers are in increasingly high demand, and hospital employers are currently experiencing labor shortages. Many healthcare providers are in the midst of compliance efforts to meet deadlines for the implementation of ICD-10 and the mandated transition to electronic medical records. In addition to adding IT specialists to the staff, technological updates can lead to time-consuming training phases for the healthcare professionals who will use the new systems on a daily basis. Savvy healthcare employers are planning for this future and forecasting the staffing levels they will need for such challenging times. For many, contingent staffing is the answer for a smooth transition into an ever-more digital age. rns in demandPartly in anticipation of increased head counts with the coming impact of the ACA, demand is also up for skilled RN's. A March report by Wanted Analytics indicated that more than one million jobs were posted for healthcare-related occupations, representing a 3 percent year-over-year increase in hiring. Registered Nurses led the nation in the most job ads, up 13 percent when compared to March of 2012. Critical Care nursing jobs demonstrated the highest year-over-year growth with 34 [+]

Citing burdensome reporting requirements, the Obama administration has delayed the employer mandate portion of healthcare reform until 2015 giving employers an additional year to comply with worker health insurance. Under the provision, companies with 50 or more workers face a fine of as much as $3,000 per employee if they don’t offer affordable health insurance. Sue HigginsSue Higgins, Product Development Director at Stay Staffed supports the decision, “This change to 2015 will allow companies to better evaluate their options. Companies that are nearing 50 employees, where the employer mandate becomes effective, can supplement their workforce with contract or temporary workers and avoid the mandate. By setting up an effective vendor management or recruitment process outsourcing system, companies can continue to grow without going over the 50-employee threshold. The extra year will enable more companies to set up effective systems if this is a strategy they choose to take.” Many Companies Already Using Contingent Workforces One of the reasons for the boom in temporary employment is that many employers are utilizing contract workers to avoid the healthcare reform mandate. Temporary staffing jobs hit a record 2.68 million in May growing by 25,600 from the previous month. The temp industry [+]

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