Prioritizing Cost Savings before Improving Operations is Putting the Cart Before the Horse

Do you want to improve labor productivity and expense?

Start by improving operations… and the savings will follow. Focusing on savings before operational improvement often leads to the opposite!

Healthcare is about people taking care of people. The latest technology and machines don’t care for patients; people do! We may use technology and other tools and aids to care for patients, but it’s our caregivers who provide the care. This may seem like an obvious statement.

Why, then, do we turn our attention to workforce management only when we’re forced to because of financial pressures? Shouldn’t we always be concerned with how we deploy our precious and finite resources in a manner that best meets the needs of the patients and organization?

Have we equipped our leaders with the appropriate tools, information, and education to allow them to deliver on this expectation?

If we sincerely pursue excellence in patient care, we MUST begin with how we manage our workforce. Labor is the largest single expense for any hospital, and it’s also the single most important component in care delivery.

It’s intuitive that, if we apply the right resources in the right place and time, we will be able to maximize care quality and service for our patients. What’s more, proper resource management results in the financial and operational benefits of improved productivity and cost; a win-win for any organization!

If not just productivity, what else?

Since each day brings its own set of unique circumstances, determining any barriers, or “limiting conditions” to improvement, demands that we assess operational performance daily. Documenting the sources and causes of unfavorable performance variances is a critical first step along the path of improvement, and foundational to over-coming improvement barriers.

Making Workforce Management the top priority ensures that delivery of excellent patient care remains the top achieved objective. Do the right thing, and the benefits of better care quality and cost will follow!