Today’s guest post is courtesy of Kevin Devine, MSN, RN Workforce Scheduler Extensions Solution Consultant and nurse. Kevin’s combined experience at the bedside, in administration, and in consulting leaves him with 26 years working in the healthcare industry.
Nearly 30 percent of today’s medical spending goes toward ancillary care – care describing the variety of healthcare services supporting the work of physicians and nurses in acute care settings. In fact, ancillary providers are often considered a cost-saving alternative to more expensive outpatient hospital and physician services, making it one of the fastest growing areas in healthcare today.
Kronos customers currently using Workforce Scheduler Extensions – offered as part of Workforce Scheduler in the Workforce Central suite – are likely familiar with the workload-based staffing tool’s influence on inpatient nursing units, patient level-of-care, staff workload, and productivity measurement. And now, there’s more. We're excited to announce that we’ve expanded Workforce Scheduler Extensions functionality into – yes, you guessed it – ancillary areas! Simply put, Workforce Scheduler Extensions now supports your staffing needs in ancillary areas in addition to nursing units. Customers already leveraging Workforce Scheduler Extensions for nursing units can now manage their ancillary care staff with the same tool, aligning processes and streamlining staffing procedures. The tool remains the same as you know it; what’s new are the features behind the scenes that allow it to support ancillary care.
Let’s dive deeper and look specifically at respiratory therapy as an area of ancillary care. Pretend you’re the manager for a busy respiratory department at a large acute care hospital tasked with creating staff to patient assignments. You can assign respiratory therapists to an entire unit (see Cindy marked in green in the screenshot below; she’s been assigned to the AMC-ICU unit); or you can assign them to individual patients (like Deaton, marked in blue, who is treating Baby Girl Spargo and Baby Boy Rogan).
Respiratory therapists treat patients across multiple hospital nursing units (ICU, maternity, NICU, emergency room, etc.) and Workforce Scheduler Extensions can help you organize and deliver the quality care your patients expect. The system populates the patients in the nursing departments that need respiratory treatment so that each team of respiratory therapists will only see the patients that need their care. Take a look at the red box in the screenshot. The respiratory team is serving multiple departments, such as the Birth Center and the ICU, but only the patients in those departments who require respiratory care are listed.
Features like tasks, tags, events, workload shading, projecting the census, and staffing evaluation are available just as they are for inpatient nursing units. This means that you, as the manager, can make all your therapists’ assignments, evaluate their workload, and project a census to evaluate staffing for an upcoming shift, all within your Workforce Scheduler Extensions tool.
Although I’ve discussed respiratory as an example, other ancillary care teams like transport, specialized clinical teams, sitter departments, and others may also benefit from these features.
Expanding Workforce Scheduler Extensions into ancillary areas takes a few special considerations. First, staffing matrices will need to be built and maintained within the system so staffing levels can be accurately evaluated and appropriately managed. Second, the order feed and technical information will need to be set up because we use order information to identify the specific patients for ancillary areas. The Kronos Workforce Scheduler Extensions team can help with both items.
Learn more about Workforce Scheduler for Healthcare on the Kronos website.