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 [+]

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 [+]

It’s important for business to remain flexible in today’s economy in order to effectively manage risk and there are no four steps to staffing solutionssigns this will change in the foreseeable future. In addition, employing a contingent workforce is a strategy that an increasing number of employers are taking in this regard. Staffing Industry Analysts *, a global advisor on contingent workforces, reports that, "The contract labor force is growing twice as rapidly as the traditional workforce." In addition, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected that 35 percent of the national workforce will consist of contingent workers by the end of 2013. 4 Steps to Managing Your Workforce in the 21st Century As business moves towards a mix of permanent, temporary, and contract workers, the traditional approach to human resource management must shift as well. HR must partner with procurement Human resources have always worked closely with finance but the use of contingent workforces will see HR working closely with procurement as well. HR interactions with finance are normally a value-based approach to contingent workforce management whereas interaction with procurement provides a performance-based approach to vendor management. Managed properly, the resulting shift will create an opportunity [+]

healthcare new jobsIf the shortage of skilled labor wasn’t enough of a recruitment problem for healthcare providers, a recent CareerBuilder survey reveals that 34% of healthcare workers will be looking for new jobs in 2013 up from 24% in 2012. The reasons that healthcare workers gave for seeking a new position included heavy workloads, few promotion opportunities, inflexible schedules, and general frustration with work/life balance. 48% of Healthcare Professionals are Passive Job Seekers With both retention and recruitment being vital issues to resolve, it’s more important than ever for healthcare providers to streamline their recruitment process and make more informed staffing decisions. The survey also reported that 82% of healthcare professionals would be open to discussing a new job opportunity if it arose. The 48% considered passive candidates – those who are generally satisfied with their jobs but open to new possibilities – are the solution to both the recruitment and retention problems facing healthcare providers. Potential passive candidates reported that their reason for remaining with their current employer included the enjoyment of working with co-workers, location, salary/benefits, flexible shifts, and a general feeling of having satisfying and rewarding work. If that sounds like the ideal employee, it’s [+]

The healthcare industry added another 32,000 job postings in February in addition to the 30,000 openings per month it has been averaging over the past year. Some healthcare facilities seem better prepared to keep up with the increased hiring demand while others struggle to fill positions or experience prohibitive costs when they can fill them. Sue Higgins - Product Development Manager Sue Higgins, Product Development Manager at Stay Staffed Candidate Direct, who has been monitoring the growth in healthcare staffing reports, “In the last 12 months our postings have increased over 340% - this is due to two things: 1) the growth in industry and demand for highly skilled candidates, and 2) the increase of clients using our Vendor Management System. We have had added significantly to our client list and these facilities are posting and getting jobs filled fast!” Clients utilizing the Candidate Direct VMS solution are experiencing improved fill rates, reduced overtime, fewer staff shortages, and an enhanced candidate matching process that results in lower turnover and greater productivity gains. VMS Client Testimonial: "Our facility was caught off guard when a key Nurse Practitioner announced she was taking an early retirement. Our staffing manager tried unsuccessfully [+]

Rapid change affects recruiting efforts in any industry. But when a patient’s health is on the line, as in the healthcare industry, it’s extremely important to make the right hires consistently. The ACA, the ARRA of 2009, and an aging population are all contributing to rapid changes in the healthcare industry. Add to that the ongoing workforce shortages and you soon realize why recruitment has become so difficult in the healthcare arena. But it doesn’t have to be. In addition to our many healthcare recruiting options, we offer three innovative IT recruitment solutions to help hospitals and other healthcare providers ease the burden of medical staffing both internal and external: 1. Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO)

RPO services cover all aspects of the hiring process including sourcing, recruiting, interviewing, background checks, hiring, and on-boarding. Our 25 years in healthcare recruitment has provided us with the necessary tools to manage the hiring process in a way that delivers high-quality candidates at the lowest possible cost. In addition, you will receive access to one of the largest network of nursing, physician, and allied health professionals in the nation featuring active, passive and hidden talent pools. Candidate Direct’s RPO services offers a workforce solution that [+]

With two separate Medicare reductions taking effect in the first half of this year, it’s understandable that healthcare providers are lamenting the potential loss of healthcare jobs. It’s a big pill to swallow for most hospitals and healthcare employers. But as the outrage dims, healthcare executives are re-visiting their strategic plans to come up with cost-effhealthcare staff cutsective solutions to recover the revenue loss. Certainly, for some, healthcare staffing cuts are on the table. Rather than issue layoff notices, however, more innovative hospital executives are looking to generate additional revenue streams as well as streamline operational processes by eliminating waste and redundancies to better utilize their workforce. New Revenue Streams Part of the Answer Of course, additional revenue streams are the ideal solution. Some nursing homes, confined by minimum worker-to-patient ratios, are looking to new revenue sources as a solution rather than cutting healthcare staff. An October 2012 BusinessWeek article reported, “The chief executive of Brookdale (Senior Living), Bill Sheriff, told investors in the company’s most recent earnings call that Brookdale’s expansion into hospice care and outpatient services such as physical therapy has made an ‘attractive additional contribution’ to revenue.” Similarly, Richard Lechleiter, chief financial officer at Kindred, [+]

While the economy was unable to make any real advances in 2012, that was not the case with medical technology breakthroughs. The following are five medical technology advances that occurred in 2012. Brain-Controlled Mechanical Limbs The Boston Globe reports that quadriplegic, Cathy Hutchinson was able to reach for a bottle of water, bring it to her mouth for a sip, and return it to the table using a brain implant technology to control a mechanized arm. The implant, called BrainGate, is being adapted by researchers for use in prosthetic limbs as well as communication devices for those unable to speak. Defibrillator Implant While defibrillator implants are not new, Boston Scientific is the first to develop an implant that doesn’t need to touch the heart. The defibrillator implant, called the S-ICD, is placed just under the skin for easy access and sends electrical impulses to “correct abnormal rhythms.”  The device helps prevent sudden cardiac arrest and was approved by the FDA in September 2012. Turning Electronic Health Records into a Searchable Database    For those about to begin their EMR implementation, it’s good to know that technologies are being developed to improve reporting and search options. Beth Israel deaconess Medical Center has developed and launched a program [+]

Construction of new hospitals has flatlined somewhat in 2012 while healthcare executives measure the impact of the Affordable Care Act. According to Health Facilities Management magazine, “Industry insiders expect roughly the same amount of spending on hospital construction in 2012 as in 2011, with specialty hospital projects and infrastructure upgrades helping to offset the drop in acute care hospitals. The survey shows that the shift in priorities from traditional hospitals to smaller, neighborhood or satellite facilities is accelerating.” A study conducted by HFM in regards to healthcare expansion plans reported that, “Future projects most frequently cited by survey parti­cipants in response to reforms are emergency departments, by 17 percent; outpatient facilities in neighborhood settings, by 16 percent; medical office build­ing expansions, 16 percent; and primary care clinics and urgent care centers in neighborhoods, both 14 percent.” Trauma Center Openings on the Rise Since 2009, more than 200 trauma centers have opened across the country with an additional 75 hospitals seeking approval to add centers to their operations, according to Kaiser Health News. Leading the charge in trauma center development is HCA, a Nashville-based healthcare company. HCA has added, or intends to add, 20 new trauma centers to its network in southern states such [+]

Fueled in Part by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Healthcare Staffing isn’t always easy. Especially if a healthcare provider’s local labor pool doesn’t support the RN specialists patients require. To fill gaps in bedside care, the ER, OR, NICU and others; healthcare facilities nationwide rely on travel nurses to supplement their permanent staff. Their skills are just as good as staff nurses and in many cases better prepared to care for and communicate with disparate patient populations, indicate findings by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. As 30 million plus Americans gain access to healthcare through the nation’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, reports a Foundation study, traveling nurses may play a bigger role than ever in staffing healthcare providers that face growing patient populations and attrition by older nurses. And though an increase in the number of patients is bottom line news for any healthcare provider, headaches in sourcing qualified nurse candidates can be daunting and costly. Time consuming interviews, piles of paperwork and endless phone calls to onboard supplemental RNs for multiple units or floors can be drastically reduced with services of a healthcare vendor management web-based platform Fortunately, healthcare providers that suffer from in-house or regional nurse shortages [+]

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