One of the biggest challenges facing health care is staffing. The shortage of nurses is an ongoing problem at medical facilities across the country. Recruiting more people into the nursing profession is one way to address the shortage, but that’s not the only solution to the problem. Predictive analytics can help medical facilities make the best use of the nursing staff that they do have, according to AMN Healthcare, a healthcare staffing firm. Such capabilities are now part of the new technologies at the forefront of health care’s digital transformation.
AMN surveyed nurse managers to gauge their perception of staffing problems. The survey showed that 94 percent of managers feel that scheduling and staffing problems hurt morale, with 90 percent of nurses feeling underappreciated, according to Becker’s Hospital Review. When it comes to the effect on patients, 70 percent of respondents said that they are concerned about the impact of nurse staffing shortages on patient experience and satisfaction.
Technology can help deal with staffing issues, but most health care facilities still cling to older methods of staff scheduling. According to the survey, 23 percent of nurse managers say they don’t use any nurse scheduling tools; 24 percent use paper-based scheduling; and 19 percent use digital spreadsheets. Also telling, 80 percent of nurse managers are unaware of advanced scheduling techniques that use techniques such as predictive analytics, according to AMN’s survey.
But predictive analytics can help nurse managers understand their staffing needs and arrange schedules to best meet those needs. According to AMN, healthcare facilities that have incorporated predictive analytics into their labor management strategies have:
- 97 percent accuracy when forecasting staffing needs a month in advance.
- Filled 75 percent of open shift hours when looking ahead two weeks in advance.
- Reduced labor spending by as much as 7 percent — amounting to millions of dollars in savings.
Advances in healthcare aren’t limited to the drugs and devices used to treat patients. Healthcare is still fundamentally a people profession. New technology can help hospitals and clinics make sure that their staffing is at appropriate levels to deliver that care.