Handling Human Resources is complex enough in a corporate entity of some kind. It is ten times as complicated and as difficult in healthcare and there are a few reasons for this.
For one, if you thought that the money is tight in commercial organizations, you simply have to see what kind of financial constraints limit healthcare HR professionals in their day-to-day work. Every single penny that is spent has to be accounted for and then accounted for once again. The talent is always scarce and looking for more lucrative options. The sheer amount of paperwork puts commercial HR paperwork to shame almost.
And this is not even considering the fact that healthcare HR (HHR) can have a direct effect on the patient outcomes. In other news, a bad HR decision can easily contribute to a person losing their life.
Without taking anything from people who do HR for commercial organizations, doing healthcare HR is on a whole other level.
The good news is that, even though governments are increasingly doing their best to cut back on the healthcare funding, various healthcare organizations are finding ways to overcome the many HHR challenges through utilizing new tech.
Mountains of Paperwork
One of the first things anyone who has ever spent any time working in healthcare will tell you is that the amount of paperwork that needs to be done is simply spectacular. There are good reasons for this, even though some of them may seem to be nothing but legal fail-safes. In any case, the paperwork has been a traditional HHR challenge and it is here to stay.
In all of this paperwork, employee assessments and job satisfaction surveys get lost in the crowd, both in a literal and a metaphoric way. Healthcare workers often have so much “essential” paperwork to get through that appraisals and similar HR forms and questionnaires are often uncompleted.
New types of software make these appraisals and similar HR “paperwork” easier to send around and quicker to fill in. This helps healthcare HR departments get more precise insights into the state of the workforce.
A great example of this is the Cabell Huntington Hospital in Huntington, West Virginia where they struggled with managers’ appraisals of their direct subordinates. The ancient pen and paper system simply could not keep up and about 10% of all appraisals ended up uncompleted. In addition to this, this system involved too many hands and eyes on certain papers, resulting in potential security breaches.
Recently, the hospital switched to a software-as-a-service (SaaS) performance appraisal system which has since boosted their appraisal completion rate to almost 100%. They also estimate that this new system will have saved over $50,000 in man-hours only within a year.
Outdated and Cumbersome HR Software
At worst, healthcare human resources departments have absolutely no help from any kind of HR software. At best, they use an outdated, clunky solution that has been around since Baywatch was a thing and the internet was just another fad.
The good news is that SaaS solutions have started penetrating the HHR industry as HR professionals are becoming more involved and willing to spend days on end explaining the advantages of such a system to the healthcare administrators and other decision-makers who have no idea what SaaS or even what it is that HR actually does.
Software-as-a-service HR solutions boast lower costs for healthcare organizations, they are modern and user-intuitive, as well as easily upscaled or downscaled depending on what the organization needs. Above everything else, they can actually help HR professionals do their job and aid healthcare professionals to help patients. In short, there is no lack of advantages.
And while there will always be some concern about the security of such solutions, it is not like the ancient HR software that most healthcare institutions use are the pinnacle of cybersecurity. And in any way, human error is still by far the most common cause of data breaches in healthcare.
Overworked and Underappreciated Workforce
The vast majority of people who work in healthcare do an enormous amount of work and, to add to it, they also do incredibly stress-inducing work. In essence, healthcare workers do a lot of excruciatingly stressful work and some of it can be prevented by the use of new HR technologies.
For example, using a piece of employee scheduling can ensure that nurses in a hospital all work equal amount of time and at equally (in)convenient days and that no one feels like they are someone’s fool, to be crass. In Watertown, New York, a mixed professional-volunteer ambulance service struggled to keep the shifts balanced and filled. With their new solution, the ambulance drivers and volunteers can exchange shits themselves and their managers are at all times aware of all changes that are often made on the fly.
With some advanced data collection and analysis, hospitals can also discover which times of which days are particularly heavy and require an added influx of staff and which periods are more relaxed, allowing for doctors and nurses to go home and relax.
Through a continuous and incremental appraisal and acknowledgment system that is enabled by new HR software solutions, healthcare workers will also be appreciated more which can do wonders for their job satisfaction and engagement levels.
Healthcare HR is a particularly brutal ecosystem with many challenges which can be very constraining. Luckily, new tech solutions such as data analysis and specialized SaaS HR solutions are helping HHR fight for its place under the sun.