Problem: Complex scheduling requirements, varying time and attendance processes across departments

Solution: Automated staffing and scheduling system that integrates with time and attendance

Results: More efficient scheduling, improved workflow and real-time resource utilization information

‘We appreciate the high level of support we receive from API Healthcare and the company’s willingness to provide system enhancements and additional functionality as our needs evolve."

Gene Kleinberg
Manager, IS Applications
Children’s Hospital and Health System

A Rigorous Selection Process

As a follow-up to successfully deploying API Healthcare’s Time and Attendance Solution enterprise-wide, Children’s Hospital and Health System decided to implement a more effective way to manage its staffing and scheduling processes. The health system’s flagship, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, had been using automated staffing and scheduling software. However, that software was not integrated with the Time and Attendance Solution or human resources systems and had limitations that prevented certain departments from utilizing it. With more than 2,400 full-time equivalent employees, the hospital needed a system that would not only manage staffing and scheduling facility-wide but also help managers improve workflow and control overtime costs.

Children’s Hospital also required a system that could generate real-time reports so executive leadership could proactively measure productivity. Furthermore, since staffing is largely handled by individual departments within the hospital, it was important that the system accommodate a decentralized staffing environment.

With these goals in mind, Children’s Hospital put together a cross-functional team to determine system requirements and then initiated a formal RFI process. After inviting select vendors to demonstrate their systems, the team made reference calls to the vendors’ customers and conducted site visits to see the systems in use. In addition to providing the desired functionality, it was key that the selected vendor offered strong customer support and had good relationships with its customers.

A Systematic Approach

After a thorough evaluation process, Children’s Hospital selected API Healthcare’s Staffing and Scheduling Solution. “We selected API Healthcare for several reasons,” says Gene Kleinberg, Manager, IS Applications for Children’s Hospital and Health System. “First, since the company’s labor resource management solutions are integrated, we knew we would be able to leverage the IT infrastructure already being used to run Time and Attendance. Similarly, the Staffing and Scheduling could be implemented on the same portal as Time and Attendance, reducing the learning curve for employees.”

The ability to share data between the two systems was also an important factor in the hospital’s decision. For example, if personal paid leave was entered in the Time and Attendance, that same information would be available in Staffing and Scheduling—eliminating the need to re-input information. API Healthcare’s focus on healthcare and willingness to work with management to address the hospital’s unique needs also played a role.

Children’s Hospital began its Staffing and Scheduling pilot in February 2007. “We wanted to make sure diverse areas of the hospital were represented in the pilot group, including the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, which is comprised of more than 180 employees and has complex scheduling requirements,” says Kleinberg. A representative acute nursing unit, the internal float pool, and two ancillary areas—Respiratory Care Services and Radiology—were also part of the pilot program. The rollout was completed in the fall of 2008 and the system is now being used in various areas throughout the hospital.

Improved Processes

Since implementing Staffing and Scheduling, Children’s Hospital has realized a number of benefits, including enhanced reporting capabilities. Because supervisors are able to access real-time data, they can respond quickly to changes in patient care needs or employee absenteeism. In addition, managers and supervisors are able to review online historical scheduling information and patient care leaders can access productivity data to see how much time caregivers are spending at the bedside versus performing administrative tasks.

Several units within the hospital are using Staffing and Scheduling’s self-scheduling functionality, which enables employees to view upcoming work schedules, submit Web-based shift requests and electronically inform management when they are unavailable.

Staffing and Scheduling’s ability to share data with Time and Attendance has resulted in some unexpected benefits. For example, employees use a computer or badge reader to indicate when they are moving from one task to another, enabling managers to better manage workflow. In addition, some agency workers clock in and out via Time and Attendance, which has simplified attendance tracking and improved invoicing accuracy.

“We are pleased with the productivity improvements we have experienced as a result of implementing the Staffing and Scheduling,” says Kleinberg. “Workflow is more efficient, staffing is more accurate, and employees can obtain a greater sense of control over their work schedules.”