Guest Blogger: Megan K. Schramm, MS, RN, CAHIMS, is a clinical strategist for the Kronos for Healthcare Advisory Services team.


Value-based care is a concept all nurses understand.  Improving quality and outcomes for patients – namely the improvement of patient health, reduction of the incidences of chronic disease, and provision of more efficient, cost-effective quality care – is something we strive to do every day.   This paradigm shift discussed for well over a decade is based on compensating providers based on outcomes (fee for value) versus volume (fee-for-service). 

To achieve these initiatives, the industry must invest in technology solutions that streamline care delivery and decision-making processes while still making the patient its central focus . With two-thirds of every dollar spent by hospitals going to wages and benefits , an advanced clinical scheduling solution that efficiently deploys nurses and other caregivers is one solution to consider.


Consider the Clinicians’ Experience

Enter Kronos™ Workforce Scheduler for Healthcare. Workforce Scheduler automates the creation of work schedules based on a forecast of predicted patient volume, with consideration of employee skills, experience, and preferences. Using a rules-based engine, it supports compliance with regulatory requirements, internal policies, predefined practice standards, and contractual obligations related to staffing and scheduling of your workforce.

From an employee experience perspective, when speaking to our customers, clinicians often tell me that the system’s ability to prospectively determine needs gives them peace of mind that their skills will be utilized best – providing patients with the best possible care – rather than simply assigning anyone with the appropriate license to simply fill a need.  In addition, they talk of the increased satisfaction they have with their schedules.  Because demands are addressed ahead of time, there is less need for last minute requests to work or having to work short staffed.

Enhanced with functionality – or extensions – that quantifies workload intensity, Workforce Scheduler enables the equitable and safe distribution of the workload through automated patient-to-staff assignment, increasing both patient and employee satisfaction.  These three enhancements or extensions are as follows: 


1.    Balancing Staffing Levels

Workforce Workload Manager™ for Healthcare assists nursing leaders by matching demand for care to the clinical labor supply, considering each patient’s level-of-care intensity to quickly determine total workload levels, validate staffing levels, and generate equitable assignments for review and approval. 

The integration of healthcare data solutions provides a comprehensive clinical picture. By connecting Workload Manager with a provider’s EMR system, leaders can leverage the valuable patient data that is already available from orders, test results, diagnoses, and other clinical documentation. This provides end-users with an auto workload value — enabling them to determine patient needs more quickly and with greater accuracy. Care providers are then able to apply their professional judgement to override individual patient classifications to create a more holistic picture of patient and unit workload.

Our clinical end users like the overall visibility of the system and how it removes objectivity. Leadership can see patient workload from an organization wide perspective and drill down to individual units to see in quantifiable values how busy their staff truly is.  It gives staff credit for all the care they provide.  It is no longer just “we feel busy.” The system can show that we ARE busy.

2.    Better Budget Management

Workforce Target Intelligence™ for Healthcare provides frontline leaders with current productivity reporting to guide staffing decision-making. Target Intelligences allows CNOs and frontline charge nurses to make in the-moment decisions supported by real-time data and a quantified evaluation of staffing needs and resources based on the current volume. Using this information, unit managers know what needs exist and how to meet them with available staff; at the same time, the staffing office and house supervisors will know how to safely and cost-effectively deploy the labor force across the organization. By consistently matching staff supply with demand-for-care requirements of the patient, this component helps organization achieved the cost-quality balance necessary to succeed in the value-based care delivery model.

3.    Start With a Better Schedule

Workforce Forecast Manager™ for Healthcare uncovers the weekly, daily, and shift-level patterns in patient flow through units so providers can intelligently forecast demand. Forecast Manager pulls volume data in real time from traditional admissions-discharge-transfer (ADT) systems or patient placement systems and stores the figures by time of day. The forecasted volume gets automatically fed by shift into the workload planner at pre-determined intervals to drive more accurate, cost-effective scheduling. With Forecast Manager, managers and the staffing office get the information needed to match nursing resources to actual patient flow, enhancing quality of care and giving staff more predictability in their work schedules.

Workforce Scheduler and its extensions enables the successful execution of the daily mission critical issues presented by staffing and scheduling your most valuable asset – your workforce


To learn how the right scheduling and workload staffing tool can be used to support your organization, download this informative white paper:  Meeting the Needs of Value-Based Care Through Staffing Based on Patient Workload.

 Also, check out St. Charles Health System story to learn how one health system used Kronos Workforce Scheduler and its extensions to align clinical staffing with patient census and level-of-care intensity by unit while meeting patient needs, minimizing staff burnout, and staying with budget. 

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Published: Friday, September 27, 2019