Jackie Larson, President, Avantas
As a company that partners with hospitals and health systems to optimize their workforce, there’s possibly nothing quite as beneficial as having flexible resources. This means having staff that can flex up and down with patient demand, and work within multiple facility locations as needed. Most health facilities would name this pool of flexible resources as “float.”
One of the most critical components when working with flexible—or float—staff is managing them on a day-to-day, shift-to-shift basis in terms of scheduling and placing them in the area of greatest need. The trouble with traditional staffing methods within a hospital or health system is that they work within silos – departments are reporting their needs without knowing what may be going on two floors down or the hospital down the road.
In addition to this siloed approach to staffing, it also tends to be last minute. With staffing needs tied to the fluctuating patient census, it can be hard to pin down how many and what type of staff is needed up until the moment of the shift.
That is, unless you have a bird’s eye view of the enterprise and the capability to predict patient demand weeks in advance. I know, it sounds almost unbelievable.
But this type of scheduling foresight is possible with the right tools. The first is to have a health system adopt an enterprise mentality. This approach requires shared vision and organizational cooperation extending to all applicable service lines, sharing resources and aligning policies and operational practices. Working together as one cohesive team across the enterprise reduces redundancies and delivers economies of scale.
Core to the concept of enterprise labor management, a centralized resource management center (RMC) is one of the most effective ways of proactively identifying needs and improved coordination of resources against real-time demand across the system.
Serving as a communication hub, analysts in the RMC collaborate with clinical leaders to manage employee throughput against patient throughput. The resource analysts take on administrative support tasks, freeing clinical managers to focus on patient care and staff development. With a thirty-thousand-foot view of what is happening within the enterprise, the RMC strives to place the right person at the right place at the right time.
The implementation of an RMC can be a large undertaking, especially for hospitals to which this is a new way of thinking. Avantas strives to meet our clients where they are in their current state of staffing and take the journey with them to get to their optimized state.
For organizations who are looking to stand up their own RMC, we provide an Avantas workshop that includes a playbook and templates to help them evaluate their operations and gives them actionable steps to implementing their own RMC.
But we know the world of healthcare is ever busy, especially during this time. So we understand when people tell us “it’s just not the right time” to take on such a large project. That’s why we offer an RMC standup option. This includes 4-6 months of design and guidance support to help our clients implement their own RMC. While we handle the heavy lifting of designing an RMC it frees up the time it would take for an organization to do it on their own.
And for those organizations who simply don’t have the time or resources to stand up and manage their own RMC, we offer a fully outsourced RMC option to assist with proactive recruiting, individualized unit guidance and schedule balancing and resource optimization, and analytics & KPI reports to support an organization’s FTEs dedicated to daily staffing.
No matter which path an organization takes to implement a resource management center, we’re committed to being expert partners who will help keep our clients on track to achieve their long-term staffing goals. After all, the core of Avantas and where we got our start was in an RMC.