A robot pushes a ball far ahead of human workers pushing cubes; and the blog title appears: 5 Myths About Robotic Process Automation in Healthcare.

5 Myths About Robotic Process Automation in Healthcare

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HealthWare Systems Blog

5 Myths About Robotic Process Automation in Healthcare

Posted on Friday, August 7, 2020

Robotic process automation (RPA) is an innovative and effective technology that utilizes software robots (also called “bots”) to automate redundant, human-based processes.

Unfortunately, there are many myths about robotic process automation in healthcare. Below we dispel some of the more prevalent misconceptions that may be keeping your organization from implementing RPA and attaining its many benefits.


Here are 5 common myths about robotic process automation:


RPA Myth #1:  RPA Involves Physical, “Human-Like” Robots

A robot pushes a ball far ahead of human workers pushing cubes; and the blog title appears: 5 Myths About Robotic Process Automation in Healthcare.

Don’t let misconceptions about robotic process automation in healthcare cause you to miss out on this valuable technology.

The software robots, or “bots,” employed in robotic process automation are figurative. RPA does not make use of tangible robotics. It is computer software that observes the activities performed by a human user and is programmed to replicate those actions (more efficiently and accurately than a human could). You can think of each metaphorical robot as an individual user with its own (virtual) workstation.

RPA Myth #2:  Robots Will Replace Human Workers

One of the biggest myths about robotic process automation is that robots will steal jobs away from human beings. In reality, software bots make humans’ jobs easier and RPA even has the potential to create new (and better!) job opportunities for human employees.

Bots don’t necessarily take over entire positions; they take on the repetitive, monotonous tasks that humans usually dislike doing anyway (or that have already been outsourced). This saves valuable time that human workers can instead devote to more fulfilling, higher-level objectives. In the case of healthcare employees, RPA enables staff to focus on patient interactions and delivering quality care.

Because it largely eliminates dull, manual responsibilities in favor of the rewarding aspects of the profession, robotic process automation in healthcare can significantly increase job satisfaction.

RPA Myth #3:  Robotic Process Automation Is Expensive

Actually, robotic process automation saves organizations money in many measurable ways:

  • RPA decreases operational costs as software robots don’t require hiring, training, office space, or a paycheck.
  • RPA increases efficiency and speeds up workflow because bots can work faster than humans and don’t need breaks or vacation time off.
  • RPA prevents errors, deficiencies, and security/compliance threats by limiting the opportunity for human error.
  • RPA is easy to deploy since bots interact directly with other software applications and websites through the existing user interface provided.

In delivering a better performance at a lower cost, robotic process automation offers a high return on investment.

RPA Myth #4:  RPA Is Useful for Some Industries, But Not for Healthcare

There is increasing demand for automation in healthcare. RPA meets this need by streamlining organizational workflows and alleviating administrative burdens across a healthcare facility’s entire operation.

Sample use cases of robotic process automation in healthcare include:
  • High-volume data entry
  • Order transcription
  • Credentialing
  • Benefits verification
  • Prior authorization
  • Interactions with payer websites and clearinghouses
  • Claims
  • Appeals
  • Cash posting
  • Progress note reporting
  • Vendor integration
  • Interoperability challenges
  • And many more

RPA Myth #5:  RPA Is Just a Trend

Robotic process automation is not just a trend; it’s the future for most industries and especially for healthcare. Research posted by Gartner in May of 2020 found that 50% of healthcare providers in the U.S. will invest in RPA in the next three years (a major jump from 5% today).

According to their study, the COVID-19 crisis has contributed to RPA adoption as healthcare organizations now have further need to maximize resources and reduce costs. Out of 161 finance executives Gartner surveyed, almost 25% said they expect they’ll be spending more on RPA during the coronavirus pandemic.

Furthermore, their research showed that 20% of all patient interactions will entail some type of AI enablement (within clinical or non-clinical processes) by 2023, which is an increase from the fewer than 4% that do so today.

Applying Robotic Process Automation at Your Facility


Now that we’ve cleared up some of the confusion regarding robotic process automation in healthcare, the next step is determining how your facility can make the most of this valuable technology.

HealthWare Systems analyzes healthcare organizations’ processes and users’ activities to identify and automate redundant tasks and helps them apply RPA to their workflows.

Contact us to schedule a consultation or for more information about robotic process automation in healthcare.


By Stephanie Salmich

Robotic process automation in healthcare: A robot’s hand holds a hospital.

What is Robotic Process Automation? (And How Can Healthcare Facilities Use RPA?)

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HealthWare Systems Blog

What is Robotic Process Automation?

(And How Can Healthcare Facilities Use RPA?)

Posted on Monday, July 13, 2020

Robotic process automation (RPA) is the use of software robots, also known as “bots,” to automate repetitive, human-based processes.

Robotic process automation is a means of achieving business process automation (BPA), which is the digital transformation, streamlining, and proactive management of organizational workflows.

Benefits of Robotic Process Automation


RPA is easy to implement because software robots interact directly with other software applications and websites using the existing user interface provided. The robot will log in to the application, navigate the user interface, populate fields, respond to prompts, capture results, and perform the same operations a human user would. Through assigned business rules, software robots can adapt to special use cases and outliers to handle virtually any scenario or work process.

Software robots take on the redundant, manual tasks usually completed by human users, which:
  • Enables staff to focus on higher-level objectives and interactions with patients.
  • Helps facilities better allocate resources and repurpose FTEs.
  • Lowers operational costs; using software robots is more affordable than hiring, training, housing, and paying humans to do the same work.
  • Increases efficiency; bots work 24/7 and more quickly than humans.
  • Improves accuracy; the opportunity for human error is significantly reduced.
  • Enhances data analytics; analyzing bots’ actions over humans’ is not only more precise, but robots can also be used to automate data analysis.
  • Facilitates HIPAA compliance; all bot activity is tracked and documented.
  • Strengthens security; RPA follows all protocols/permissions for a normal user and meets the facility’s data integrity rules/conditions, plus removes risks tied to updates from external sources (e.g. vendors, business partners).
  • Requires minimal IT support and participation.

Robotic Process Automation in Healthcare


Robotic process automation in healthcare: A robot’s hand holds a hospital.

Is “RPA” in Your Site’s DNA?

Bots can be deployed fully automated in an unattended configuration or utilized interactively. An interactive version may allow some human responses while automating other redundant activities.

Here are just a few areas where you can use robotic process automation in healthcare:
  • Order transcription
  • High-volume data entry
  • Cash posting
  • Credentialing
  • Benefits verification
  • Prior authorization
  • Interactions with payer websites and clearinghouses
  • Claims and appeals
  • Progress note reporting
  • Vendor integration
  • Interoperability challenges

Is “RPA” in Your Site’s DNA?


RPA delivers a substantial return on investment and is essential to the future of healthcare organizations and the ways in which they operate.

HealthWare Systems can evaluate your workflows and user activities to identify and automate redundant actions. Contact us today to learn how we can help you apply RPA to your processes and experience the benefits at your healthcare facility.

Download our Robotic Process Automation Product Sheet.


By Stephanie Salmich

A man works from home and the blog title is shown: 6 Tips for Managing Remote Healthcare Employees.

6 Tips for Managing Remote Healthcare Employees

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HealthWare Systems Blog

6 Tips for Managing Remote Healthcare Employees

Posted on Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Your organization may be moving workers off site due to COVID-19 concerns or looking to make working from home a permanent option because of its many benefits. As you adjust to your new role managing remote healthcare employees, the following tips will be helpful.

6 Tips for Managing Remote Healthcare Employees:


1.) Set clear expectations and lines of communication.

If employees know what is expected of them at the start, you’ll save yourself a great deal of hassle down the road. Be direct about job duties and timelines, as well as how to reach you and when is best.

Communication is key. You don’t want your remote workers, who cannot simply drop by your office, to feel they have limited access to you. Be responsive to their calls and emails.

A man works from home and the blog title is shown: 6 Tips for Managing Remote Healthcare Employees.

HealthWare Systemsremote work solutions enable healthcare leaders to securely and effectively manage remote healthcare employees.

2.) Create a secure remote work environment.

Ensuring security entails both choosing remote work solutions that facilitate HIPAA compliance and instructing employees on their responsibilities regarding the protection of PHI. Supply employees with reliable tools that will allow them to work securely and effectively.

See our guidelines for creating a secure remote work environment.

3.) Establish a Remote Work Policy.

It is prudent to have employees sign an agreement stating they will follow all rules and regulations put in place for working from home and understand the civil and criminal penalties for improper handling of PHI.

4.) Monitor productivity.

Not only is this essential for security reasons, but also for maintaining high performance standards, efficiency, and accountability.

HealthWare Systemsremote work solutions provide managers with full oversight/review of employees’ work and complete audit trails.

5.) Keep remote workers engaged.

It’s important to make sure everyone stays connected to their team and the organization, even if they don’t work together in person.

Some ways you can improve employee engagement include scheduling an initial (or periodic) on-campus visit, getting to know your staff personally, conducting virtual team-building activities, checking in to offer support, and providing incentives to reach goals.

6.) Give regular feedback and recognize achievements.

Employees want to know how they are doing and how they need to improve. Be attentive to this to prevent remote employees from wondering if their hard work is going unnoticed.

Feeling appreciated by management makes a crucial difference to an employee’s motivation and loyalty, so strive to extend praise where deserved. Additionally, acknowledging employees publicly and/or to upper management will show them they are valued and not forgotten.

You may also be interested in: 11 Reasons to Enable Healthcare Staff to Work from Home

Managing Remote Healthcare Employees


Remote work may be new territory, but you’ll probably find that many of these tips are similar to those you’d follow when managing staff on site. No matter their location, all healthcare employees need secure technology solutions, encouragement, direction, and investment from leadership in order to succeed in their work.

HealthWare Systems can assist you in your transition to managing remote healthcare employees. Learn more about our remote work solutions and schedule a phone consultation today.


By Stephanie Salmich

A remote worker smiles as she enjoys the benefits of remote work solutions that enable healthcare staff to work from home.

11 Reasons to Enable Healthcare Staff to Work from Home

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HealthWare Systems Blog

11 Reasons to Enable Healthcare Staff to Work from Home

Posted on Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Not all healthcare employees need to be on site to complete their work. When you enable healthcare staff to work from home, your employees, organization, and community will benefit!

A remote worker smiles as she enjoys the benefits of remote work solutions that enable healthcare staff to work from home.

Everyone benefits when you implement remote work solutions that enable healthcare staff to work from home.


Here are 11 reasons why you should implement solutions that enable healthcare staff to work from home:


1.) Limit the number of people on sitethe COVID-19 crisis has caused numerous organizations to reassess how many employees are actually necessary to keep on site. Moving workers off site now will help protect patients and employees from the current coronavirus; and, it will establish a more proactive approach for any future public health emergencies by ensuring staff who can work from home are already set up to do so when another new disease strikes.

2.) Maintain HIPAA-compliancethe healthcare industry has been reluctant to offer remote work opportunities due to concerns over PHI security. HealthWare’s remote work solutions enable healthcare staff to work from home by providing controlled access to PHI, encryption of all information at all times, complete audit trails, and full transparency for management.

3.) Increase productivity many studies demonstrate the positive effects of working from home on productivity. For example, a Stanford paper reported a 13% performance increase when employees switched to remote work and Airtasker’s survey of 1,004 full-time employees found that on average, remote workers put in 1.4 more days of work each month (16.8 more days each year) than those working in an office. Plus, remote work has the potential to facilitate a more flexible schedule, so many remote workers can choose to accomplish some of their work outside of the typical “9 to 5” business hours if they feel more motivated in the early morning or late at night, with the result of producing higher quality work. (Our remote work solutions provide management with productivity monitoring for real-time oversight, so you can really be certain your remote workers are delivering.)

4.) Expand your pool of job applicantsif your employees can work from home, you aren’t limited to hiring workers who live within commuting distance of your facilities.

5.) Recruit top talentin addition to more potential candidates, you’ll also attract the best contenders. According to Indeed’s 2018 survey, an organization’s remote work policy is an important factor for 47% of employees in their job search and 40% would even consider taking a pay cut if it meant they could work from home. And if you can offer a work from home incentive, you’ll especially appeal to Gen Z and Millennial healthcare employees who have joined or are entering the workforce at a time when remote work opportunities are increasingly common.

6.) Reduce your footprintcommuting and company offices are major contributors to greenhouse gas emissions. Moving some of your healthcare staff off site will make a significantly positive environmental impact. These remote workers’ homes will double as their office space and they will travel fewer miles, use less gas and oil, and reduce their contributions to air pollution.

7.) Keep workers healthyworking remotely means your teams won’t be exposed to workplace (or public transportation) germs. This is especially enticing for employees who work in the healthcare field and would otherwise be vulnerable to germs from both colleagues and ailing patients. And on top of the physical health advantages, remote workers experience mental health benefits related to stress (e.g. no commute/traffic, more free time, better work/life balance). Physically and mentally healthy employees can better concentrate to produce superior work.

8.) Decrease sick days and absencesemployees are not only less vulnerable to getting sick in the first place when they work remotely, but they’re also more apt to work through a mild cold or sickness if they can do so in the comfort of their own home. In fact, the reason some employees may choose to call in when sick is not because they don’t feel up to working, but simply to avoid spreading the illness to their coworkers – a concern that remote workers don’t have to worry about!

9.) Improve employee satisfaction and retentionemployees who enjoy the perks of remote work will be more satisfied, more loyal to your organization, and less inclined to leave their positions.

10.) Save moneycost savings come in the form of less office space/equipment/supplies, reduced turnover, fewer absences, increased productivity, and recruitment of better talent, to name just a few areas in which you’ll see major returns on investment. (We estimate savings of $10,000 per year per worker when you employ our remote work solutions.)

11.) Remote work is the futurebetween 2005 and 2017, remote work increased by 159% in the United States. A recent study projects that 73% of all teams will include remote workers by 2028.

The time has come to embrace work from home solutions in order to remain competitive in the eyes of prospective employees – you simply can’t afford to resist this inevitable change to the workforce.

Remote Work Solutions for Healthcare


Which parts of your operation would you move off site if you could? HealthWare Systems can analyze your paper and fax-based workflows and offer alternative solutions that enable healthcare staff to work from home in a HIPAA-compliant, secure environment.

Schedule a phone consultation and we’ll help you determine how you can enable healthcare staff to work from home, and which departments to target, so you can start reaping the benefits listed above as soon as possible.


By Stephanie Salmich

A patient tracking system will improve the healthcare employee experience.

Improve the Healthcare Employee Experience with a Patient Tracking System

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HealthWare Systems Blog

Improve the Healthcare Employee Experience with a Patient Tracking System

Posted on Friday, November 15, 2019

Patient tracking systems are known for improving the patient experience… But did you know HealthWare’s patient tracking system, ActiveTRACK, can also improve the healthcare employee experience?

ActiveTRACK captures data in real-time. Its real-time dashboards improve the healthcare employee experience in the following ways:

Better Resource Allocation

Access to actionable, real-time data enables supervisors to proactively manage resources and staff based on actual patient flow. Workloads can be better balanced so that one group or individual is not needlessly or disproportionately overwhelmed, which can greatly reduce workplace stress.

Holds Everyone Accountable

ActiveTRACK monitors productivity, creating the opportunity to reward or recognize high achievers. It also allows managers to identify low performers and ensure that every employee pulls his/her weight.

It’s very frustrating for a team when one member brings the rest down. Without a tool like ActiveTRACK it’s hard for managers to hold everyone to the same productivity standard. With ActiveTRACK, managers can put low performers on a work improvement plan and improve team engagement.

Correctly Determines Responsibility

Management can also immediately and accurately pinpoint where any bottlenecks in patient throughput occur thanks to ActiveTRACK’s real-time data.

An acute care facility in the Chicago Suburbs used ActiveTRACK for this purpose, and discovered that patient delays had been incorrectly attributed to its Registration Department. Data from ActiveTRACK revealed that patients were actually being held up in other areas. (You can read the full case study here.)

When healthcare employees are mistakenly blamed for workflow issues, they will feel irritated at best and unjustly treated at worst. A patient tracking system can bring your healthcare employees the relief and security of knowing their good work will be properly credited to them and won’t go unnoticed.

You may also be interested in: “3 Healthcare Solutions for Improving Employee Satisfaction, Engagement, & Retention

Improves Communication & Patient Visibility

In addition to real-time data, ActiveTRACK also delivers real-time communication among departments. And, patient status is visible to all departments across the enterprise. This eliminates calls between clinical areas, to greatly improve the healthcare employee experience.

A patient tracking system will improve the healthcare employee experience.

You can improve the healthcare employee experience by providing the tools and resources healthcare employees need to do their jobs well.


Annette Franz (customer experience thought leader and founder/CEO of CX Journey Inc.) says when she interviews employees, “some of the biggest pain points of their experiences are most often about their inability to do a good job”:

“At the heart of it all, employees want to do their jobs and do them well. Unfortunately, they can’t if they aren’t provided with the tools, processes, and resources needed to do that.”

ActiveTRACK is the tool healthcare employees need to do their jobs well. And when healthcare employees are happy and engaged, so are patients!

Download our Product Sheet to learn more about how ActiveTRACK can improve the healthcare employee experience at your facility.


By Stephanie Salmich

Prescription for celebrating the holidays in the hospital.

Celebrating the Holidays in the Hospital

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HealthWare Systems Blog

Celebrating the Holidays in the Hospital

Posted on Monday, December 3, 2018

Celebrating the holidays in the hospital can be tough for patients, their families, and your staff who take care of them this time of year.


Follow this prescription to help make celebrating the holidays in the hospital happier for patients, their families, and healthcare employees!

Help make the holidays happier for patients, their families, and healthcare employees!

 

The following ideas can make celebrating the holidays in the hospital happier for both your patients and employees:

Deck the halls! 

Put together a team of volunteers to decorate your facility.  Ask people to donate old Christmas and Hanukkah decorations – everyone usually gets a few new decorations each year and probably has some old ones to spare.  Better yet, display homemade decorations created by your pediatric patients!

Provide patients and their families with a list of hospital-approved ways they can bring the holiday spirit to their stay.

For example, candles may be prohibited so perhaps an electric menorah is the best option.  Can they bring in their own small Christmas tree or hang a few strands of lights?  What about playing seasonal music (at a reasonable noise level) and watching holiday movies?

Passing out a list of ideas is a proactive way to clarify any questions about what is/is not permitted up front.  In fact, patients may be pleasantly surprised that your facility allows quite a bit more than they expected.  And you are less likely to have to act as The Grinch later if they are reminded about a few rules before they have a chance to break them!

Set up a time for pediatric patients (who are able) to go caroling around the hospital.

This will brighten their day as well as bring joy to the other patients who get a visit!  Or, schedule a time for volunteer carolers to come in.

Plan a visit from Santa Claus!

Who better to lift everyone’s spirits than Old Saint Nick?  Invite children to write letters to Santa as well.

Conduct a Toys for Tots drive and fill your facility with the spirit of giving.

Did you know the December health observances include Safe Toys and Gifts Month?  Provide participants with guidelines for which toys are considered acceptable donations according to safety standards.  A Toys for Tots drive presents a timely opportunity to be charitable AND improve patient safety.

Add a personal touch.

You can really brighten a patient’s holiday with personalized decorations or gifts.  A former Regional Director of PreAccess, Joyce Bryant, shared her experience while working in hospice:

“Our hospice foundation gave us money to make small Christmas trees for each patient.  My Patient Access department made 150 eight-inch trees.  We hot-glued small ornaments we bought at Michaels.  We also had employees donate ribbon and broken jewelry that we took apart.  We decorated some in line with some of the patients’ hobbies – fishing, sewing, cats, etc.  We did blue and white for our Jewish patients.  We glued a small gold bell on each tree for those patients who didn’t have sight but could hear the tree.”

Joyce recommended hospitals “look at what their non-clinical, support staff can do.  Some are just waiting to jump in and help!”  What a special way to bring joy to both patients and staff.


As noted by Becker’s Hospital Review, it may be increasingly important for healthcare facilities to improve the experience of holidays in the hospital due to crucial patient satisfaction scores.

Plus, the holidays bring feelings of gratitude, happiness, love, contentment, and joy.  Spurring those emotions in your patients will not only benefit their mental health, but perhaps their physical health as well.  Each of these feelings has been studied for positive physical effects.

We hope these tips will help your patients and employees in many ways this holiday season.  Happy holidays to all patients, families, clinicians, and staff celebrating the holidays in the hospital!


By Stephanie Salmich

A nurse reads the HealthWare Systems blog to address nurse burnout.

How to Prevent and Address Nurse Burnout

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HealthWare Systems Blog

How to Prevent and Address Nurse Burnout

Posted on Friday, September 14, 2018

A nurse reads the HealthWare Systems blog to address nurse burnout.

Address nurse burnout to improve clinician well-being and reduce nurse turnover.

When hospitals address nurse burnout, they not only improve clinician well-being but also the well-being of their patients and revenue cycle.


As we discussed in our last post, the effects of nurse burnout have a critical impact on clinician well-being, patient satisfaction, patient safety, and the national nursing shortage.  Therefore, hospitals must address nurse burnout.


Here are a few ways health systems can prevent and address nurse burnout:


Maintain Adequate Staffing Levels – Understaffing contributes to nurse burnout because nurses become overworked in the form of longer shifts, more overtime, and heavier workloads.

Reduce Nurse Turnover Rates – High nurse turnover also places a heavier workload on your remaining nurses.  To reduce nurse turnover, many healthcare facilities are offering various incentives in exchange for a required minimum length of work from their nurses.

Millennial healthcare employees are especially drawn to organizations that invest in their education.  Offering educational or financial incentives like sign-on bonuses, scholarships, tuition reimbursement, and profit sharing is effective in retaining Millennial healthcare employees.

Another strategy is peer interviewing.  Allowing your nursing staff, who have firsthand knowledge of what it takes to succeed as a nurse at your facility, to interview applicants and contribute to hiring decisions can increase the likelihood the candidates you hire will be a good fit for your facility.  And, your staff may have an increased interest in helping those candidates adjust to their new positions if they helped choose them as new hires.

Create a Mentorship Program The nurse turnover rate for first-year nurses at Franciscan St. Francis Hospital and Health Centers in Indianapolis went from 31% to 10.3% thanks to its mentorship program.  A mentor can support his/her nurse mentee by acting as a role model and passing on skills, knowledge, and experience.  A mentor should also be a good listener, supportive and encouraging, and help build a mentee’s confidence.

Provide Emotional Support Research published in the journal Medical Care studied “compassion practices,” which “recognize and reward compassion in the workplace as well as provide compassionate support to health care employees.”  The study found that compassion practices positively affected nurse well-being and resulted in less emotional exhaustion and more psychological vitality.

Offering spiritual/emotional support services on your campus is one way you might support clinician well-being.

Alleviate Administrative Burdens In a national study conducted by RNnetwork, one of the top three reasons nurses gave for wanting to leave the profession was “spending too much time on paperwork.”  Having the right technology in place can help ensure your nurses get to spend more time with patients and less time doing clerical work.

Get Feedback Communicate with your nurses.  Find out which of these strategies are working and how you can improve upon them.


Hospitals that work to prevent and address nurse burnout using the strategies above can protect their clinicians, patients, and revenue cycle from the dire effects of nurse burnout.

Health systems interested in how to address nurse burnout may also wish to visit our other blogs on these topics related to clinician well-being:  reducing physician burnout, physician empathy, time-savers for physicians, support your physicians.


By Stephanie Salmich

The effects of nurse burnout: A nurse crossing her arms experiences nurse burnout.

The Effects of Nurse Burnout

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HealthWare Systems Blog

The Effects of Nurse Burnout

Posted on Wednesday, September 12, 2018

The effects of nurse burnout: A nurse crossing her arms experiences nurse burnout.

The effects of nurse burnout reach your nurses, patients, and bottom line.

The effects of nurse burnout are far-reaching.  Everyone, from your patients and their families to your nurses and the entire facility, can be affected by nurse burnout.


The Effects of Nurse Burnout Reach Your Nurses, Patients, and Bottom Line…


Here are some of the effects of nurse burnout:

Nurse Well-Being Nurse burnout can lead to feelings of dread about work, mental and physical exhaustion, sleep issues, and depression for your nurses.  The effects of nurse burnout also include compassion fatigue, causing your nurses to disengage from your patients.

Patient & Family Satisfaction Interactions between your nurses and patients and their family members are crucial to the patient experience and patient satisfaction scores.

A study published in the journal Medical Care found the following relationship between nurse work environment, nurse burnout, and patient satisfaction with nursing care:

“Patients cared for on units that nurses characterized as having adequate staff, good administrative support for nursing care, and good relations between doctors and nurses were more than twice likely as other patients to report high satisfaction with their care, and their nurses reported significantly lower burnout. The overall level of nurse burnout on hospital units also affected patient satisfaction.”

Patient Safety Clinicians suffering from burnout may be less motivated and/or may experience lower cognitive functioning due to emotional exhaustion, putting patient safety at risk.

An article published in the American Journal of Infection Control found a significant association between nurse burnout and UTIs and surgical site infection.  According to the researchers, “hospitals in which burnout was reduced by 30% had a total of 6,239 fewer infections, for an annual cost saving of up to $68 million.”

Reducing nurse burnout can decrease the likelihood of medical errors and improve patient safety at your facility.

Turnover & Nursing Shortage According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, factors contributing to the national nursing shortage include insufficient nursing school enrollment and faculty, high retirement numbers, the aging population’s need for more healthcare workers, and high turnover/number of nurses leaving the profession altogether.

Almost 1 in 5 new nurses leaves his/her first job within the first year, and about 1 in 3 leaves within the second year.  In a national study conducted by RNnetwork, “half of the nurses surveyed have considered leaving nursing.”  According to the survey, “the number one reason for wanting to leave is feeling overworked (27 percent), followed by not enjoying their job anymore (16 percent) and spending too much time on paperwork (15 percent).”

Unfortunately, there is a cyclical relationship at work here: the national nursing shortage increases nurse burnout for those who are working in the profession as their workloads consequently grow.


As you can see, the effects of nurse burnout have a critical impact on nurse well-being, patient satisfaction, patient safety, and the national nursing shortage.  Please read our next post on how to prevent and address nurse burnout to ensure your health system can avoid the dire effects of nurse burnout mentioned above.


By Stephanie Salmich

A doctor shows a patient a healthcare form on a tablet and the blog title appears: Lower Hospital Costs with the Benefits of Electronic Healthcare Forms

Lower Hospital Costs with the Benefits of Electronic Healthcare Forms

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HealthWare Systems Blog

Lower Hospital Costs with the Benefits of Electronic Healthcare Forms

Posted on Wednesday, May 23, 2018


A doctor shows a patient a healthcare form on a tablet and the blog title appears: Lower Hospital Costs with the Benefits of Electronic Healthcare Forms

The benefits of electronic healthcare forms include reducing paper usage and improving workflow automation; both can significantly lower hospital costs.


There are numerous benefits of electronic healthcare forms that can help lower hospital costs related to the production and inefficiencies of paper forms.  Two of these, reducing paper usage and improving workflow automation, are outlined below:

Lower Hospital Costs with the Benefits of Reducing Paper Usage

Electronic healthcare forms greatly reduce the number of pages that need to be printed, which means providers can lower hospital costs related to all aspects of printing:

  • Besides the cost of the paper itself, facilities can save money on toner, ink, and printer maintenance and service fees.  A hospital may not even need as many printers, thanks to the benefits of electronic healthcare forms.
  • Electronic healthcare forms can easily be printed on-demand if a physical copy is necessary, so there is no need to stockpile pre-printed forms that may go unused.
  • Storage space and costs are no longer necessary since pre-printing is avoided.
  • Changes and updates to forms can be made electronically and in real-time, saving providers from the cost and waste of destroying old pre-printed versions that can no longer be used due to new revisions. (Read here how BJC Healthcare, which uses over 3,000 forms, utilized ActiveFORMS to solve this problem.)
  • The cost of blue cards and labels is also eliminated thanks to barcode automation.
  • Electronic healthcare forms enable healthcare facilities to use electronic signature instead of paper consent forms, significantly reducing paper usage.  Patients will also be impressed by, and enjoy the convenience of, an electronic signature option.

Lower Hospital Costs with the Benefits of Workflow Automation

Electronic healthcare forms allow providers to replace time-consuming and costly manual processes with workflow automation:

  • One of the benefits of electronic healthcare forms is that hospitals can automate the selection, generation, and routing of forms.  This ensures the correct, visit-specific documentation is produced every time (saving on costs associated with rework and denials due to missing paperwork/consents) and relieves the registrar from the burden of remembering selection criteria for every form used (saving on training costs and time spent searching for and gathering documents).
  • Standard patient demographic data and barcode identifiers on electronic healthcare forms prevent forms from being confused between different charts and save staff time from needing to label or handwrite the same patient data on every form.
  • Electronic healthcare forms that are barcoded, clean originals streamline the scan/capture process used by electronic document management systems (EDMS).  Separating multi-part forms or dealing with fourth generation copies that are barely legible can become issues of the past.
  • Improving workflow automation increases productivity and saves employees time, creating opportunities to reduce or repurpose FTEs(Read here how Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital grew its surgery department by 20% without an increase in FTEs, thanks to workflow automation and ActiveFORMS.)

The benefits of electronic healthcare forms are many; reducing paper usage and improving workflow automation will not only help providers to lower hospital costs, but also help hospitals to reduce or repurpose FTEs, increase efficiency, increase employee satisfaction and retention, reduce hospital waste, appeal to the healthcare consumer’s attraction to corporate social responsibility, improve accuracy and patient safety, and increase patient satisfaction.


By Stephanie Salmich

Joyce Bryant, our Patient Access Week interviewee.

Ideas for Celebrating Patient Access Week: An Interview with Joyce Bryant

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HealthWare Systems Blog

Ideas for Celebrating Patient Access Week: An Interview with Joyce Bryant

Posted on Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Joyce Bryant, our Patient Access Week interviewee.

Joyce Bryant provides Patient Access Week ideas.

Patient Access Week is here!

Many managers may be looking for ways to recognize their hard-working patient access employees.

HealthWare Systems recently spoke with Joyce Bryant, who served over 8 years managing a centralized high volume call center consisting of 50+ Patient Access Specialists for four hospitals and five outpatient facilities as a Regional Director of PreAccess.

Joyce explained that it can be difficult to come up with activities for 60+ people, especially with budget obligations.  But she and her managers were able to find creative ways to celebrate their patient access employees during Patient Access Week, and each was a big hit!

Check out her ideas for celebrating Patient Access Week!

 

Work Station Bingo

“You can’t shut down your call center to play games and do get-togethers.  So, I came up with the idea of playing Bingo at their desk.  I had a manager go buy a Bingo game (we reused it every year).  We made copies of the Bingo Cards and handed them out to the staff.  The manager would then pull a Bingo number and email the number out in the subject line of the email.  The email pops up on everyone’s screen, with the number in the subject line, and they mark their sheet.  It’s not disruptive to patient scheduling and the verifiers can play while they’re on hold with insurance companies.  If they are busy, the numbers are all in their email and they can easily catch up.  The first one to email back ‘Bingo!’ wins.  As far as prizes, we planted succulents in dollar store pots, gave out movie theater-sized boxes of candy, or water bottles or mugs filled with M&M’s.”

Nacho Cart

“I went to Gordon’s Foods and bought a large can of nacho cheese, paper holders and several bags of taco chips.  It cost me around 16 dollars for 60 people.  What makes it special is, I put the slow cooker with the cheese in a cart and walked around the department serving it to my staff.  It gave me the opportunity to thank each staff member and let them know how much I appreciate the work they do for our patients.”

Pancake Day

“I brought in pancake mix, syrup, oranges and bananas.  It cost 25 to 30 dollars for 60 people.  I put on my apron and started serving up pancakes.  I started with the early shift and ended with the 10:30 (late shift).  Again, it’s not just the food they appreciated.  It’s the fact that we managers were thanking everyone as they walked in.  It was a great way to connect.”

Cupcakes

“I’m a baker and like to make Cupcake Wars types of cupcakes.  Not everyone’s a baker, but you can tap into the skills of your managers as well.”

Employee of the Month Board

“Appreciation doesn’t need to be just for a week.  Each team had a monthly employee appreciation bulletin board (Employee of the Month).  The team members post notes of appreciation to their teammates when they find that they’re going above and beyond.  On the first of the month, the manager takes down the notes and puts them in a hat and pulls out one.  She then sends an email to the team with that employee’s name and what they did to be nominated for “Employee of the Month.”  That employee got a small prize (a plant, $10 gift card to the cafeteria, etc.).”

On top of the ideas Joyce provided, you can find other fun activities on NAHAM’s website.  If you’re looking for more prize options, visit NAHAM’s online store featuring promotional items for Patient Access Week.  And don’t forget to share your activities and recognize your patient access employees on social media!


In addition to celebrating Patient Access Week, you can also find ideas for promoting other health observances throughout the year here, and a detailed calendar of the year’s health observances and recognition days here.


By Stephanie Salmich