Whichever healthcare service your organisation delivers, staff costs are likely to be your greatest expense. Typically followed by equipment and room charges. Increasing staff utilisation by just 5% (say from 65% to 70%) can actually lift your operating margin by as much as 2.5 %-points. That is a lot – a typical healthcare services organisation has operating margins of 5 to 10% (i.e. better utilisation could increase your margin with 25% to 50%!).
Planning and booking in excel, using outlook or simple booking solutions may work if you deliver simple services from few locations with relatively few clinical staff, but once you are booking 50 or 100 clinical resources over multiple service lines and locations things start to get complicated.
Consequently, over the past year, several of our clients have discarded their old planning and booking systems in favour of rules-based versions. In doing so, they have significantly increased their staff utilisation.
So what should you expect from your resource planning and booking system in 2017?
- Integration between resource planning and booking (‘don’t book a clinician who is not available on Thursdays’).
- Integration with your case management or referral management system.
- Self-service online booking for customers/patients. With ‘hard’ or ‘soft’ rules you can direct booking to slots/times that will optimise your utilisation, while ensuring staff have the right competence and appropriate resources are available.
- Depending on your staffing model you may also grant staff narrow or wide-ranging self-service functionality in terms of setting their availability, subject to system-configured rules you control.
- Smart functionality that can mix and match service requests between face to face and phone-based consultations. Depending on your service model, you may also have a separate overflow queue to deal with ad hoc appointments/walk-ins or desk-top review. These measures can considerably drive up utilisation and improve satisfaction of staff by providing a variation of work.
- Extensive MI: If you want to increase utilisation, you need to keep your finger on the pulse with real-time updates (so you can make intra-day or intra-week changes). You also want to understand in detail booking and DNA patterns to optimise planning.
- Lastly, enable multi-channel engagement – on mobile, web or via phone!
Contact us for a discussion on resource management and booking today.