Recent trends have shown a shift in priorities across healthcare facilities nationwide. Once at the top of the list, cost management now ranks third among healthcare facility managers, with staff engagement coming in second. Patient experience, now ranked the number one priority among facility managers, has the ability to make or break a facilities’ reputation, yet attaining and maintaining a positive atmosphere relies heavily on one thing – staff engagement.
Now seen as a central driver in patient experience, the importance of a highly engaged staff to patient experience has risen to 68 percent in 2017 versus just 44 percent in 2015. Because the experience of patients is directly dependent on the engagement of those who care for them, a commitment to that experience must also include a commitment to the people delivering it as well. Through active identification of workflow inefficiencies and strategic vendor partnerships, administrators can help clinicians free up time throughout the day, resulting in a happier, more engaged staff, allowing them to focus on what’s truly important – the patient.
Healthcare facilities both large and small face challenges on a daily basis that can either be exacerbated or mitigated depending on the types of vendors the facility has partnered with. When choosing a vendor for your healthcare facility, it’s important to partner with those that enable facility managers to fully automate as many daily tasks and programs as possible, because when staff is overwhelmed, patients suffer. To avoid the time-consuming issues that result from workflow inefficiencies, healthcare facility managers should first identify tasks the staff spends too much time doing. Linen programs, for example, are the source of many issues for not only administrators, but clinicians as well. Does your facility have an automated linen program, or does your staff waste time each morning trying to locate scrubs in their correct size? By implementing a fully automated linen program, however, your vendor will not only deliver and stock your shelves, but also manage your inventory so you and your staff have what you need, when you need it.
Once workflow inefficiencies have been identified, it’s important to do your due diligence when choosing vendors to partner with. Although there are many factors to consider, this is a crucial process in the overall success of any healthcare facility, and shouldn’t be hurried. Prioritizing a partner that is well-versed in the needs of your healthcare facility ensures that you are not only partnering with a vendor for a specific product or service, but one who can also help to improve the day-to-day lives of your staff as well. The quality of the person you bring into your facility is also important, so be sure to choose a partner that prioritizes face-to-face relationships, and acts as an advocate on behalf of both you and your staff. Finally, it’s also crucial to align your facility with a vendor whose core values align with your own. Look to see what deliverables each vendor prioritizes, such as hospitality-inspired service, transparency, and so on. By partnering with vendors that do business in line with the purpose, values and goals of your own facility, you’ll have an easier time providing those same deliverables to your staff and patients.
Healthcare facility managers have a unique and important task ahead of them as trends in patient experience correlate more and more with staff engagement. By actively identifying inefficiencies and entering into strategic vendor partnerships, however, administrators are poised to meet these needs head on, resulting in a happier environment for staff and patients, ultimately leading to a more efficient facility.
Jay Juffre is the Executive Vice President of Operations and National Service Director for ImageFIRST, the creators of the new ScrubVAULT System.
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