Sr. Performance Engineer
Product Director for Premiers Operations Advisor
By increasing the awareness of the correlation between department productivity indicators and clinical quality indicators, department managers will be able to avoid staffing levels that are known to negatively impact patient quality.
In 2002, JCAHO passed new rules that required hospitals to start collecting data on both clinical and human resource indicators so that staffing deficiencies resulting in poor quality outcomes could be identified and corrected. Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System collects various indicators for each of the patient care units bi-weekly and reviews the information quarterly. Identifying correlations, however, has been difficult as most indicators have only shown weak or no correlation. If the lack of correlation is preventing the identification of a corrective action, the organization hopes that adding awareness to the situation will help improve quality.
The organization has recently implemented a bi-weekly productivity tool that also includes a quality monitoring tool that allows managers to track several clinical indicators. With the tool, management can continuously track the correlation between department productivity and the clinical indicators. If correlations are observed, safe productivity and employee utilization thresholds are established for the department. While the change is too recent to draw any conclusions as to its effectiveness, the organization hopes to observe an overall increase in patient quality indicators between the time period after the tool was introduced and the time period prior to its use.