Healthcare in the U.S. has been a hot topic for some time with congressional showdowns, insecurity around costs, and the steps that providers and organizations take to meet the rising tide of need. As a whole, the healthcare industry is growing. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), healthcare occupations are expected […]Read More >
Meeting Healthcare Needs with Advanced Scheduling
- nettime solutions staff
Healthcare in the U.S. has been a hot topic for some time with congressional showdowns, insecurity around costs, and the steps that providers and organizations take to meet the rising tide of need.
As a whole, the healthcare industry is growing. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), healthcare occupations are expected to continue to have the fastest employment growth among all industries through 2024.
Healthcare Scheduling Issues Driven by Supply-Demand Crisis
But, as one recent article puts it, the industry is in the midst of a “supply-demand crisis.” Even as the workforce grows, it’s not keeping up with actual need.
While there are a number of contributing factors for this, most industry leaders point to the fact that the country’s population is aging. Right now, about 46 million people in the US are 65 or older. By 2060, this number is expected to double. And within this group, more than 90% are projected to have at least one chronic health condition for which they’ll need regular care.
Naturally, there will always be people drawn to healthcare professions. For some, it’s about altruism. For others, they enjoy the challenges that come with needing to think clearly on their feet in the face of an urgent need. And of course, there will always be people who want a career that pays well.
And there we find another challenge. Referencing data from the BLS again, there’s a considerable gap between salaries at the top and the bottom:
- The median annual salary for practitioners and occupations such as nurses and physicians is roughly $25,000 higher than the median annual wage for other occupations.
- However, the median salary for support positions such as home health aides, occupational therapy assistants, or medical transcriptionists is nearly $10,000 lower than the national average across industries.
Healthcare professionals at all levels appreciate knowing that scheduling is handled fairly across an organization. Our recent report, “Always On the Clock,” explores issues related to scheduling, and how these issues affect professionals in a number of industries. Read it today, and learn more about the types of solutions that can benefit your organization.
Healthcare scheduling compliance is difficult because of the industry’s shifting dynamics
In traditional staffing and scheduling models, managers typically lead the process. And for these managers, whether in a large, multi-state hospital system, or a local private practice, scheduling can be daunting. Meanwhile, for staff and employees, scheduling can be a contributing factor to issues related to burnout or dissatisfaction.
While healthcare professionals excel at responding to urgent situations, they still want a level of predictability, especially when it comes to scheduling time off the clock.
With so many moving parts in the healthcare industry, including the trend of contract professionals, the manager-led scheduling method can create an unwanted disconnect among units and across teams.
- Staff members may feel like their needs are not part of a manager’s thinking.
- Likewise, staff may feel blindsided when the schedule comes out, especially if they’ve communicated a time-off request that seems to have been ignored.
To address such challenges, some healthcare organizations are beginning to use a scheduling model that includes staff input and greater engagement with employees. This includes managers and staff working together to build schedules that keep staff preferences in mind. They also ensure that the right mix of people are on shift to cover patient needs.
Advanced scheduling software lets managers and team members look ahead and plan together.
- In a hospital or urgent care facility, for instance, advanced scheduling can simplify the way you staff around the holidays, weekends, or other times when staff members and professionals may want time off.
- Managers and staff are able to review and customize shifts, develop templates for common weekly schedules, and view employee availability in real time.
Advanced scheduling can also inspire staff members to play a role in deciding their own shifts. This can help them enjoy a stronger work-life balance, and provide them with a renewed sense of engagement and autonomy in their work, including:
- Gaining greater control and input into their shifts. This includes being able to post shifts that they’d like covered, and swap shifts with coworkers.
- More engagement with coworkers and managers. For example, employees will be able to set their availability via their dashboard.
- A greater sense of stability, no matter what the working environment is like. You can encourage employees to pick up shifts by displaying potential per-shift earnings.
With cloud-based options, healthcare workers can clock-in/out from anywhere, either at a kiosk within the facility, or even from their own mobile devices when they’re visiting a patient at home or an offsite facility. They can also access their calendar on their own personal time when they need to.
It’s safe to say that managing staff scheduling, and making sure shifts are filled, will continue to be a challenge for many healthcare organizations. With an advanced scheduling solution, teams can collaborate to make sure the needs of patients are being met, even as the number of patients continues to rise.
Are you considering a cloud-based time and attendance solution to help simplify scheduling for your staff? Discover how stratustime’s powerful features help simplify scheduling, and put more power in the hands of your employees. Give us a call today. We’ll put stratustime on the clock for you.