Summary of Work:
A community hospital in the Northeast retained Warbird’s professionals to perform a labor productivity analysis and design and implement a sustainable staffing system that matched labor supply to patient/volume demand. Warbird’s professionals assessed the hospital’s labor cost-management opportunities, aggregated that data into workforce tables and management productivity dashboard monitoring tools, and developed shift management tools and trained front-line managers in the utilization of those analytical tools. Within three pay periods (6 weeks) of implementing these labor productivity analytics, the hospital saw an 11 percent improvement in its labor expenses.
Prior to working with Warbird’s professionals, this community hospital traditionally relied upon third-party, external benchmarks to measure its labor productivity and set staffing levels. This subscription productivity service provided the hospital with a review of its productivity on a quarterly basis, which significantly constrained the hospital’s ability to proactively manage and anticipate needed staffing levels based on their varying volume and demand for services. When the hospital’s board asked the leadership team to find ways to control expenses and enhance labor productivity, the hospital’s leadership team knew it needed a staffing system that harnessed real-time data to shape labor staffing practices.
Areas of Focus:
Identifying and Quantifying Labor Productivity Opportunities:
- Developing Internal Productivity Benchmarks. Warbird’s professionals partnered with the hospital’s leadership team to develop productivity benchmarks. Importantly, these benchmarks measured the hospital’s present-state productivity relative to its previously achieved levels of efficiency over the prior year. This focus on leveraging the hospital’s internal productivity data to identify initial productivity goals enhanced stakeholder buy-in and led to enhanced organizational adoption of the new labor productivity system.
- Labor Productivity Performance Tracker. Working with the hospital’s IT and finance departments, Warbird’s professionals collected disparate data to develop a labor productivity performance tracker, an executive-level dashboard with cascading analyses. This performance tracker identified across specific cost centers the labor cost savings or overages that were generated each pay period. Importantly, the performance tracker provided leadership with the decision-support information needed to work with specific department managers and meet the initial productivity goals. The tracker reported and annualized the labor cost savings associated with meeting these productivity goals, which provided leadership with valuable information to share with its board of directors.
Implementing and Integrating Real-Time Productivity Monitoring Analytics:
- Shift Management Tools & Variance Improvement Plans. Warbird’s professionals also developed shift management tools (SMTs) for the hospital. The SMTs provided front-line managers with the tools necessary to report labor resource use and the volume of services delivered in their departments at the conclusion of each shift. Importantly, this new process generated the data that allowed the hospital to start to track and improve its productivity on a more real-time basis, flexing staff as demand for services evolved over the course of the day. Where departments had labor overages, Warbird’s professionals provided Variance Improvement Plan (VIP) documents. The VIPs allowed front-line managers to report the issues that generated labor overages, identify proposed solutions, and escalate those issues that could not be resolved from within the department.
- Productivity Improvement Team. At the suggestion of the Warbird professionals, the hospital assembled a Productivity Improvement Team. This team monitored the Performance Tracker and collected the VIP feedback that department managers provided. Warbird’s professionals worked with the team to address the barriers that were limiting each department’s ability to meet the initial productivity goals.
Warbird’s professionals worked with the hospital’s leadership team to develop new labor productivity standards and reporting and management tools. These tools collected formerly disparate data that the hospital was generating in its EHR and across operations and finance divisions and leveraged that data to provide the hospital’s leadership team with actionable information. After implementation of these tools and training of the hospital’s staff, the hospital saw an eleven percent (11%) reduction in its labor costs.