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CNO conversation #4: How to use technology to drive clinical goals

April 20, 2017

This is the final blog of a series of topics I frequently discuss with CNOs across the country. I’ve found there are recurring challenges a typical CNO faces regarding the nursing workforce. Today I’m focusing on the best way to use technology to drive clinical goals.

In healthcare organizations, the CNO takes the lead in making sure nurses can practice at top of licensure and education, and providing safe staffing levels to ensure appropriate care is given to patients. CNOs are in a perfect position to be a driving force in innovation. They are ultimately responsible for the largest portion of the organization’s workforce management resources. When they leverage technology to streamline processes and workflows that allow nurses to get back to the bedside, it has a direct impact on patient and employee satisfaction, engagement, and patient quality and safety. Adopting the right technology in healthcare organizations allows for the collection of actionable data that have a substantial impact on clinical, operational and financial outcomes.

How can CNOs utilize technology to drive clinical and organizational goals? One way is to implement an acuity based staffing system, such as Infor Care Workloads,  that decreases the variation in assignments and care delivery, creating the opportunity to bring balance to workload distribution through equitable patient assignments. Staffing by acuity may or may not change the number of nurses that are required, but it may change the distribution of patients to ensure a fair and equitable assignment among staff. Staffing fairness plays a role in nursing satisfaction as nurses who feel overworked may become burned out and simply leave. Providing nurses with ample time to engage and provide excellent patient care helps reduce adverse events and leads to better patient outcomes. Staffing based on the workload needed for patients allows you to match nurse skills to the individual and unique needs of the patients.

When combined with Infor Multi-View Scheduler, managers are able to create and edit sophisticated schedules by automatically assigning employees to meet required demands of the patients. Accessing real-time workload coverage indicators and key workforce summary statistics allow organizations to safely staff according to the unique needs of their patients in a streamlined manner.

Managers now have data for building budgets and leaders have data to help maintain equitable workloads. Finance can easily align workload instruments to fiscal standards while IT can interface with applications to meet system requirements. The ability of the acuity system to extract data directly from the EMR can assist not only front line leaders with staffing decisions, but by using real time data, providers can make real time decisions that positively impact patient care.

Implementing fully integrated, clinical decision support systems encourages best practices as well as collaborative decision making among providers and can standardize care provided. Patient care will improve as quality and safety are enhanced. An integrated system allows for all providers to view care regardless of where it was received in the hospital or post-acute system, or even the clinic setting. Lastly, cost will decrease as providers gain real time data and access that helps prevent unnecessary duplicate testing that can cost hospitals millions of dollars.

Using Infor’s entire set of solutions is a winning combination that results in cost savings, more efficient staffing levels, improved patient safety, increased employee and patient satisfaction, and better patient outcomes. Read our white paper on how to take the theory of patient-centered workforce management and put it into practice.  Please share your thoughts below.

Danielle Miller, PHD(c), MSN, RNC-OB Chief Nursing Officer, Clinical Applications

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