As the staffing crisis remains top of mind for health systems, many organizations are looking to automation technology to address staff burnout and increase patient satisfaction.
The case management department in hospitals is one area where there is tremendous opportunity for bringing technology into workflows that have traditionally been manual and time intensive. We look at the benefits of bringing automation technology into the case management workflow and best practices for vendor evaluations.
Most health information technology has the reputation of adding work instead of helping staff, but there is growing optimism that automation technology can be a key part of the solution to the staffing shortage that so many health system case management departments are facing. It can also make things better from a workflow perspective. Case managers are ready for automation to perform the repetitive tasks that occur in the patient discharge process. From our experience, case managers don’t see automation as a threat to their jobs; they see it as a tool and enabler. And they overwhelmingly believe in the potential of this technology to transform their working experience for the better.
We have been bringing technology into the case management workflow for many years now, and we have many recommendations and best practices for successful implementations and how to get staff on-board and excited from day one:
- Focus on Strategic Priorities – Case management is not just about efficiency, but a key part of a health systems initiatives in value-based care, such as ACOs or bundled payments. Any efforts related to technology, automation or efficiency need to be anchored in the broader organization’s strategic priorities.
- Understand the Actual Impact on Staff – Solutions that just check a box and don’t necessarily solve a problem can actually make workflows worse for downstream staff. Organizations must understand how technologies and solutions will impact everyday front-line staff before moving forward.
- Rebuild Trust – There is a great deal of cynicism and skepticism about health IT, and rightfully so. It’s often been a staff dissatisfier more than anything, and changing mindsets requires leaders to listen carefully and work closely with front-line staff throughout the technology evaluation and implementation process.
- Deliver Consumer-Facing Patient Experiences – Patients are now savvy consumers of technology and have higher expectations than in the past. It’s no longer a given that experiences with technology in the healthcare setting needs to be miserable. Customizing and personalizing the patient experience is a must, and technology is a key enabler in that process.
- Automate Common and Repetitive Workflows – Case managers should be able to spend more time delivering care in front of patients and less time documenting it in front of computers.
Repetitive tasks falling on overworked case managers can create dissatisfaction and contribute to burnout and staff turnover. Technology can automate work processes, reduce burnout and help improve the staffing issues in case management departments. Health IT is transitioning from a technology enabler to a strategic partner, and healthcare leaders must learn to embrace this digital revolution and develop teams to meet these new opportunities — or fall behind.