Resource management in healthcare can be overwhelming for even the most seasoned of management staff.
Your hospital must be open 7 days a week. You must have dozens (if not hundreds or even thousands) of employees on-hand, ranging from clinicians to vital support staff. You must also manage multiple complex patient needs and, above all, prevent even the tiniest detail from falling through the cracks.
This is an incredibly intricate puzzle of prioritization — and lives are at stake.
That’s why you need all the help you can get in setting the right priorities and implementing the most effective practices. Here are are 5 tips to get you started.
Tips for Resource Management in Healthcare
1. Prioritize Visibility to Create Accountability
It is difficult to keep everything in mind, even when writing something as inconsequential as a grocery list.
That is why we suggest investing in a dashboard that allows you to make everything, from employee schedules to key metrics, visible to everyone who needs to see it.
With a dashboard available for review during staff meetings, and available for a glance at the beginning of shifts and throughout the day, your team will ensure that tasks are completed in multiple, simultaneously-running projects.
Positive outcomes of this strategy involve lowering costs by reducing redundant spending and idle staff time.
2. Inventorize and Ration All Resources
In order to ensure all resources (from staff time to tools and materials) are used as efficiently as possible, a number of hospitals are implementing the just-in-time (JIT) model.
The JIT model involves producing only what is needed when it is needed.
Originally applied to car manufacturing, the JIT model advises organizations to only keep staff and resources that are needed in the near-term to reach your objectives.
This way, the JIT model ensures that your inventory is never overstocked and, in turn, prevent waste or overspending.
In a healthcare JIT model, ‘inventory’ and ‘waste’ includes materials but also involves optimizing and eliminating waste from human-led processes, such as minimizing unproductive time through better schedule planning and eliminating redundancy and errors (which can detract from ‘value’ and patient satisfaction).
On a larger scale, the JIT method can ensure that institutional improvement and development is kept realistic and timely.
We’ve Designed a Way to Let You Record Operations
without Distracting Your Surgeons & Nurses
3. Guard Your Data (Information is a Resource Too)
One huge aspect of resource management in healthcare involves handling patient data.
Given the sheer amount of highly personal patient information hospitals possess, data breaches in healthcare sound terrifying, don’t they?
Unfortunately, especially given the gradual switch from paper-based to electronic health records (EHR), healthcare data breaches do happen, and recovering from them costs time and money.
In addition, regulators will level costly fines — with the average breach fine costing $1,500.
Take the time to develop and implement training sessions for educating staff using proper data protection protocol. You might also consider strong digital protection to keep your data as safe as possible.
4. Choose the Team Over the Individual
Healthcare requires efficient teams working in tandem with other teams: nurses with doctors, for example.
Research shows that healthcare resource management professionals should prioritize team-oriented objectives over those of individuals (such as the needs of a ‘star’ surgeon).
For More on Managing Hospital Staff Resources, See:
- 5 (Completely Avoidable) Issues in Operating Theatres
- Introducing AtoN™ An Innovation In Fiber Optic Headlights
- 5 Ways To Improve Operating Room Efficiency
5. Improve Relationship Management With Staff
Research finds that management-level healthcare workers often manage their staff through behavior control.
This is an antiquated method of managing employees through simply issuing commands.
However, this method of management tends to instill negative feelings in staff both towards their job and their managers. It can lead to a toxic working environment, resentment, and ultimately, burnout.
Hospital staff are arguably the most valuable ‘resources’ in a healthcare organization, and management is therefore advised to decrease behavior control and instead focus on increasing levels of staff input/output.
This system prioritizes milestone and goal oriented approaches over behavioral control (or micro-management), often resulting in more positive workplace attitudes and higher quality of work.
From managing ongoing patient needs to ensuring staff have the tools and training they need, resource management in healthcare is a huge and complex undertaking for management staff.
Maintaining visibility, emphasizing the team over the individual, and nurturing positive relationships with staff are key points for optimal resource management.
There’s one common element that ties most of these tips together; in a healthcare environment, people are your most important resource.
It is thus advisable to focus your efforts on improving the productivity and efficiency of your staff. Your biggest operational issues can often be solved by optimizing scheduling, and reducing non-productive time in your facility. And if you’re running a well oiled machine from a staffing perspective — there’s still room to improve overall productivity in your organization.