Productivity is a concern in just about any industry, but it’s a big one in the healthcare sector. Nurses and other healthcare workers are often overwhelmed by the sheer number of tasks they need to complete, while patients often feel they aren’t getting enough and even complain about healthcare workers “doing nothing.”
Clearly, it’s a bit of a conundrum. But there are things you can do to improve employee productivity in any healthcare setting.
Rethink Your Metric
Sometimes, the problem with productivity isn’t necessarily productivity itself. It could be a result of using the wrong measurement.
Using the wrong metric could artificially lower or raise your productivity statistics, which could mask problems.
Rethink Your Workflows
Employee productivity is often hindered by repetitive or overlapping workflows. Are your employees doing the same task two or three times over, when they should just be sharing test results and other information about a patient?
Similarly, inefficient workflows sometimes hinder employees because they have to wait for information that should be readily available and accessible. Electronic health records should help with this, but poor interfaces and poor structure sometimes mean EHRs cause more problems than they solve.
While it’s important to ensure any technology you adopt actually supports your workflows and boosts productivity, there’s often a benefit to using technology in a healthcare setting. Appropriate tech can reduce mistakes and resolve administrative issues.
Technology use boosts employee productivity by allowing employees to get on with their tasks. They know they’re getting the right information when they need it, and they spend less time sorting out mistakes or correcting course. Fewer errors also mean they spend less time administering inappropriate treatments—errors that cost your organization and decrease productivity.
Use a Communications App
One of the best pieces of technology available to those in the healthcare sector is a communications app. The app can travel with a healthcare worker from site to site, and it’s easily accessible through a smartphone.
Communication is a huge part of any healthcare job. Nurses, pharmacists, clinicians, and others need to communicate to each other about patients, and they need to be able to do so quickly and easily. A communications app allows healthcare workers to coordinate with each other, meaning they can get more done in any given shift.
Offer Incentives and Rewards
If your organization needs a boost in productivity, it could be that your employees are disengaged. Disengagement is a serious problem, with as many as 70 percent of American employees reporting some level of disengagement with their jobs. Disengagement costs organizations billions of dollars each year—and the healthcare sector isn’t exempt.
How do you get employees engaged? One easy way, as recommended by the WHO, is offering rewards for employee performance. Rewards don’t strictly need to be cash-based or monetary either; social recognition comes with its own rewards, affording the recipients prestige among their peers. Individual rewards have also been shown to increase team productivity.
Show You Care
Disengaged employees are often unproductive employees. They’re simply not motivated to bring their best every day. There are any number of reasons employees might disengage: They may find the work boring, they might feel overtaxed by the number of tasks they need to complete, or they might think they’re not getting paid enough.
Often, the problem’s quite simple: The employees think the firm doesn’t care about them. Rewards are one way to show you care, but you should also take the time to offer feedback and praise for employees. Even small gestures go a long way.