A trio of data-driven metrics healthcare organizations should consider for improved decision-making.
By Jackie Larson
Few conversations in healthcare today get very far before big data, analytics, or predictive modeling is brought up. Relative to workforce management, current key performance indicators (KPIs) that drive an organization’s planning include overtime, turnover, vacancy rate, and labor cost expense, among others. As healthcare evolves as a result of market and reimbursement realities, organizations must also evolve with regard to the data they can capture and how they use that information to make better decisions.
The use of predictive analytics, feeds from sophisticated electronic medical record and acuity systems, and scheduling tools that warehouse enormous amounts of data are enabling healthcare organizations to think about managing their workforce in an entirely new way. New metrics and approaches to measurement that are in some phase of the development process include:
1. Likelihood of staff turnover. Avantas research shows a correlation between certain levels of staffing metrics and turnover. Being able to identify significant staff behaviors, such as absences, and correlate those to eventual turnover allows managers to intervene when the behavior becomes a pattern. Being proactive and identifying these issues and working to fix them before a staff member decides to leave the organization can help avoid the exorbitant costs and strain that turnover causes.
2. Balancing experience on the schedule. By planning a mix of cross generational employees in line with demand, organizations can experience a healthy mix of experience and tenure and enable more mentoring of new grads from seasoned professionals on every shift. Ensuring experienced caregivers are part of the mix has a positive effect on patient engagement and satisfaction.
This will also improve Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems quality scores to boot. The window for harnessing the experience and knowledge of tenured employees is narrowing: The American Association of Colleges of Nurses finds 55 percent of the registered nurse workforce is age 50 or older.
3. Lifetime staff value. Organizations can measure the value an employee provides based on Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s Triple Aim:
• improving the patient experience of care (including quality and satisfaction);
• improving the health of populations; and
• reducing the per capita cost of health care.
For example, lifetime staff value can be determined by multiplying patient satisfaction score with incidental costs of care score and employee contribution value. That number is then divided by readmission rate score for a final lifetime staff value. For example, if clinician A has a value of X and clinician B has a value of X plus 20 percent, HR teams can evaluate what clinician B is doing that makes them a greater asset. Armed with this information, HR can leverage this information for future training and mentoring opportunities for all staff members. This metric represents how much value an organization receives by being engaged in employee development, education, and orientation as well as the dollar value of throughput that is received per “valued staff member” per year.
These approaches are just a sample of the list of possibilities that can be brought into reality by leveraging data. The catch for many organizations, however, will be their ability to access the necessary data. And, once they can access the data, do they have a strategy set and processes in place that will enable the data to be acted upon?
The ability to use data to support individuals making good decisions or leveraging data to create new insights should be a focus in healthcare today. But data and technology are not the answers in and of themselves. Effective strategies, best practice adoption, and a culture that values openness to change and enables communication are the necessary foundation on which to layer technology. Technology then becomes the vehicle to automate the strategies and processes that will enable data to be acted upon, and make sustainable improvements a reality.
Jackie Larson is president of Avantas.
The American Association of Colleges of Nurses finds 55% of the registered nurse workforce is age 50 or older.