The demand for efficient, yet affordable healthcare is on the rise. A study by JAMA reported that one in three patients with an urgent medical condition couldn’t get an appointment when required. The pandemic also has demonstrated the importance of having sufficient resource allocation in healthcare resources available to tackle patient influx. Currently, there is limited time, resources and budget. How can one make the overall healthcare experience most pleasurable with shorter wait times and higher quality care?
In the healthcare industry, one also has to consider the various medical and support resources. In scheduling, a scheduler has to account for scanners (CT, MRI, PET), medical labs, clinical staff, maintenance staff, ICU (Intensive Care Unit) beds, patients room and operating rooms.
It’s a complex, dynamic and expensive scenario, and efficient resource allocation in healthcare and scheduling is crucial to having this industry performing at it’s best — at the end of day, better healthcare access equals better quality of life for all involved. Let’s look at how an adaptive resource management software can help drive further efficiencies in healthcare.
Today, in healthcare scheduling, a single resource is used by multiple patient groups and there is constant fluctuation in demand, calling for resource allocation to be adaptive and flexible. Let’s take the example of MRI scans - a crucial diagnostic tool for resource allocation in healthcare is used by patients across different departments. A scheduler plans out which patient groups get scheduling priority based on history and experience. The scheduling is also done manually and more often than not the influx of patients doesn’t match the schedule, resulting in unnecessary delays, long wait-times, and inefficient use of equipment. A senior scheduler can often use their expertise to make adjustments and deliver the best results in such cases. But what happens when this expert resource is on leave or away for an emergency? From a resource planning and scheduling perspective, this would be highly inefficient.
The medical field is one of the most complex and evolving one; high performance levels are expected and have to be maintained consistently. Healthcare providers need to leave the old, telephonic method of taking appointments and making schedules. We recommend providers pivot to technology and implement an adaptive resource allocation tool, like a cloud-driven resource scheduling software, to achieve these desired results where all resources are efficiently utilised.
With an adaptive resource allocation tool in place, scheduling different patients can become automatic, flexible and dynamic. How? A scheduler will have access to the schedules of all the resources in a hospital system (across different locations too). If a need is entered into the system, say search for an operation room (OR), the system will automatically alert as to which ORs are available and find the best match.
Furthermore, a resource allocation tool gives real-time data on KPI (key performance indicators) like resource utilisation and capacity. Such metrics enable the scheduler to quickly implement calendar adjustments. The resource forecasting model further allows the scheduler to anticipate future resource demand trends and identify ways to accommodate the changes.
Here’s another example. Based on forecasting models, the scheduler or department head identifies an increase in demand for sonography machines and the support staff for the equipment and existing resources are at maximum capacity. The department head can make crucial decisions as to if any support staff from another department can be trained on sonography machines or does this situation warrant completely new hires.
The powerful forecasting analytics in resource allocation in healthcare can also help you improve the billings and effective utilization of your workforce. By applying advanced filters, department heads can proactively mobilise resources from non-billable or low priority cases to urgent, emergency situations.
With an adaptive tool for resource allocation in healthcare, a scheduler can also adjust capacity of resources according to various patient groups. A scheduler can bifurcate patients into two groups — critical and non-critical. If one of the groups’ time slots for an equipment or room aren’t being utilised, it can be quickly identified and adjusted for another.
Implementing a resource management solution gives healthcare management the ability to make data-backed decisions. With adaptive resource allocation in healthcare, the visual data and easy to interpret approach improves service quality, reduces patient wait times, and creates a system that is proactive rather than reactive in dealing with specialist availability. With all schedules on hand, management can see when a specialist (like a cardiac surgeon) is available and can be matched with high priority cases. Furthermore, the system constantly accounts for new changes in data and includes those in future projections. For example, if a sonography is typically taking thirty minutes versus the fifteen minutes it’s scheduled for, the system will highlight and accommodate this factor for future scheduling purposes.
Adaptive and efficient scheduling is one of the most important elements of healthcare management. It’s one factor that results in happy patients, increased revenue, reduced employee burnout and a streamlined medical schedule that isn’t dependent on one scheduler’s expertise. All of this will also help your healthcare facility stay ahead of its competition.
With eResource Scheduler, a hospital can effectively schedule and adjust patient groups with varying attributes and make efficient use of capacity.
eRS, founded in 2004, is an award-winning enterprise level resource management solution. eRS’s team has customised resource allocation solutions for companies across industries, including professional services, IT operations, manufacturing and construction. We can do the same for you.
To find out if eRS is right for you, sign up for a demo here. eRS is an easy-to-use software that will help you track, manage and allocate resources and also plan for future demand. By adopting this dynamic and enterprise level resource allocation tool, you’re equipping your hospital to deliver the highest quality of healthcare possible.