It Starts With Your People 

The integral part the workforce plays in any organization has never been more apparent than it is today. The workforce has always been an organization’s most valued asset, and it’s never been more telling than during this difficult time. Employees are doing everything they can to keep operations running without interruption. Organizations are quickly developing strategies to adapt to the complex challenges they are facing.  

Navigating New Terrain 

Healthcare organizations are at the heart of the pandemic. They are experiencing unprecedented changes in the way they operate while dealing with profound public unease. Hospitals face significant financial, logistical, and other workforce challenges as they respond to COVID-19. Elective procedures have been put on hold, resulting in significant revenue loss and, at the same time, challenged with increased expenses due to a need for critical supplies and resources to care for the sickest of patients. Organizations have had to quickly pivot to address the needs of the current times. Some hospitals without elective cases and few COVID-19 patients have had to reduce their staff. Others have had to set up satellite testing sites in a matter of days or create staff surge labor pools to handle the influx of patients. Hospitals across the country have shown they can adapt their processes and technology to continue to deliver on their mission of providing care to the patients in their communities against all obstacles.  

To help alleviate some of the challenges hospitals are facing, The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently issued regulatory waivers and rule changes.  

The goals of these changes are to: 

  •  Remove barriers and expand the healthcare workforce 
  •  Ensure local hospitals and health systems have the capacity to handle COVID-19 patients through temporary expansion sites 
  •  Increase access to telehealth, expand at-home and community-based testing to minimize transmission 
  •  Give providers and healthcare facilities temporary relief from some reporting and audit requirements so they can focus on patient care  

To manage all these rule changes and regulatory waivers, organizations need to be nimble and they need systems in place that can easily adapt to the changing business conditions. 

What does all this mean, especially to the employees on the front lines? These caregivers need to be ready to deliver the best possible care while feeling they are protected and supported by their leadership teams. According to an April  Gallup poll, nearly one in five healthcare professionals (19%) feel their employer has communicated too little about COVID-19. But how can organizations ensure they are communicating the necessary information to their workforce? One place to start would be your workforce management platform. Through this familiar platform, you can send employee notifications and quickly share important updates whether it be on the time clock, desktop, or mobile device. 

Mobile Lends a Helping Hand  

Mobile technology has played an even greater role in how we manage our work and personal lives during this time. We’ve heard from numerous customers that, by giving staff mobile capabilities to clock in whether working remotely or at offsite locations, they can easily track hours worked and ensure staff coverage. They can also easily communicate scheduling changes so employees have the latest and most up-to-date schedules.  

It Takes a Village: How Collaboration Benefits Us All 

In numerous articles that have been published over the last month, healthcare leaders have shared stories of how they’ve leveraged their existing technology systems to adapt to their new needs and align with their new business conditions. It is important during times like these, that we work together and learn from one another. For instance, CMS and the Assistant Secretary of Preparedness and Response (ASPR) released a new COVID-19 Healthcare Workforce Toolkit to provide up-to-date best practices so state and local healthcare decision makers have a go-to resource to know what’s been implemented in the field and to find out how it’s working. At Kronos we’ve created a place to share workforce resources and customers can collaborate with one another on how they are using their solution to address their current workforce challenges.  

What Will Organizations Do Next? 

When things have settled down and they’ve had the time to reflect on all the things they accomplished – what will they see, where did they excel, what areas will they realize they need to address for future sustainability and growth? No matter what, they will have learned and re-engineered processes which will support them in being a more resilient organization in the future.  

Published: Friday, May 8, 2020