Healthcare organizations’ IT departments have the challenging task of managing a diverse and large pool of workers across strategic projects, everyday support and unforeseen events. While many initiatives have clear resource allocation priorities, many health systems do not have adequate flexibility in staffing for variable needs. This can lead to a cascading effect across the organization when urgent or unforeseen events require additional resources. Because of this, healthcare organizations should explore flexible approaches to resource management. Such strategies accommodate changing demand while still ensuring the availability of critical resources. Creating plans around variable resource needs, however, can provide complex challenges to be overcome.
Challenges with Variable Resource Management
Over-resourcing leads to inefficiencies, waste and higher costs, while under-resourcing results in inadequate support and reduced patient, provider or user satisfaction. Both cause their own sets of issues and detract from the value that can be realized. To find the right balance, healthcare organizations must be able to forecast demand for resources and adjust their supply accordingly. Moreover, individual departments within the organization may have their own resource requirements, and the need for additional support may vary over time. While one department may need more support during a go-live, another may not. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to determining a variable resource strategy.
Three Steps to Get You Started
1. Review your comprehensive resource needs.
It’s important to speak with stakeholders across the organization to determine a method for reviewing resource needs by department and for the organization more broadly. This includes reviewing every patient, user or provider touchpoint. Establish a taskforce comprised of team members from each department to gather input on necessary resources and variability, and continually evaluate and align resource needs. Spikes in demand can often be determined well in advance. Periods of time such as open enrollment, the start of residency programs and go-lives are a few examples where it’s clear that additional resources will be needed. Create a thorough plan for these events at the beginning of each fiscal year to ensure your team is prepared. By doing so, you can proactively manage resource needs and prevent any potential shortages or overages.
2. Organize your data.
Leverage your data to determine how effectively and efficiently your teams are working. Establish or reevaluate KPIs that focus on quantitative and qualitative results. By providing real-time visibility into your resource utilization, you can quickly respond to changes in demand. This allows teams to adjust resource allocation dynamically. Ask your IT and analytics departments about other workforce management software that can provide more insight into resource trends.
3. Consider a managed services partner.
Managed services partners (MSPs) can provide strategic consulting and support to effectively handle variable resource needs. As your resource needs change, you can dynamically adjust the scope and level of services provided by your partner. This allows your team to adapt to changing organizational or patient needs. Additionally, you’ll be able to maintain a high standard of quality, even as demand for resources fluctuates.
Final Thoughts on Variable Resource Management
Managing variable resource needs for healthcare organizations can be a complex and ongoing challenge. To ensure the availability of critical resources while avoiding the costs of over-resourcing, healthcare organizations should adopt a flexible approach to resource management, including the use of real-time management systems, flexible staffing models and technology. By partnering with MSPs to deliver IT management and maintenance tasks, healthcare organizations can improve the stability and reliability of their IT infrastructure, free up internal resources to focus on priority items and quickly adapt to changing needs. Pivot Point Consulting is #1 Best in KLAS 2023 for Managed IT Services. Our team has the expertise and experience to help organizations streamline their IT operations, adopt flexible resource management and enhance quality of care.