“Oh, please! What does a man know about labor pains?” Yes, absolutely nothing, no matter how much empathy a man like me may have. But that is obviously NOT the “labor pains” implied in this blog’s title. The labor pains I am referring to apply to such agonies as overtime, being expensively above or dangerously below the daily labor budget, staffing with and paying for contract labor, such as pool or registry nurses, and any other discomforts that are related to the day-to-day staffing and operations of a long term care facility. How can providers leverage Business Intelligence (BI) to help relieve them of their “labor pains?” Let me suggest five ways.
1. Have the right tools
In today’s demanding environment of downward reimbursement pressures, increased regulatory scrutiny, and competition within the clinically-skilled labor market, having the right automated Applicant Tracking, Time & Attendance, Payroll, and Human Resources software applications is almost a necessity. Companies, such as Kronos, among others, offer innovative and easy-to-use integrated labor management packages, hardware, project management, and training to help you effectively manage your workforce.
2. Be able to input data efficiently and accurately
While time clocks have been the tried and true method for recording employee time transactions, today’s technology offers increased accuracy and accountability. These include badge and biometric terminals, telephone time entry solutions (TTE), and handheld devices which give you access to your employees no matter where they are at any time. These devices deliver direct data feeds to your time and attendance applications automatically and securely.
3. Be able to gather data intelligently
With the right software combined with the right employee time collection devices, you have the system to gather, process, house, and distribute data that not only help you with payroll, but also with Business Intelligence. The right tools will help you plan for and obtain useful information. Going beyond the traditional end-of-pay-period reports to real-time, as-it-happens information requires thorough planning and preparation. A data collection plan will help you prepare for the processing of and publication of useful information.
4. Be able to convert data into actionable information
This is where the proverbial rubber meets the road for Business Intelligence and Analytics. According to a CIO.com article entitled, Business Intelligence Definition and Solutions, “Business intelligence, or BI, is an umbrella term that refers to a variety of software applications used to analyze an organization’s raw data. BI as a discipline is made up of several related activities, including data mining, online analytical processing, querying and reporting.” The key benefit to BI is that managers and executives can monitor KPIs in real time. Where do you start? Analyze how your team makes decisions and the information needed to make and implement the best decisions possible. The decision-making discussion will drive how you structure BI. For example, one of the main advantages to BI is that it offers context. With BI you not only can discern right now what is going on, but BI can also offer budgetary, historical, and projected performance context. Trending is a valuable influencer in the decision-making process. These and other considerations can help you build a data warehouse with the flexibility to meet today’s demands and tomorrow’s possibilities.
5. Be able to communicate information
BI does not readily make your company a better one, just better informed. The key to BI being truly effective is getting the information readily to those who need it at the operational level to improve business practices. But that may require a major re-think about the sharing of information, a fundamental business practice paradigm. While good BI tools are scalable, the actual realization of the power of information must be decided at a very human level across the entire organization. Start with understanding your key business processes and determine the “who-needs-to-know” and accountability parameters.
Ultimately, once you start down the “BI-way” of information collection and dissemination, there’s no looking back. BI not only informs businesses, it transforms them. In what shape that transformation finds itself depends on the skills and strengths your team players.
- Employ the labor management tools that are right for your organization.
- Be able to input data efficiently and accurately using today’s employee time-tracking technologies, such as badge and biometric terminals, TTE, and handheld devices.
- Gather data intelligently starting with a workable data collection plan.
- Convert data into actionable information, including consideration for how your team makes decisions and the informational context that BI offers.
- Communicate the information to the operational level of your organization.
For more information about PCT’s hosted Labor Management solution, click here.