Re-Thinking Resource Allocation: What 3 Healthcare Organizations are Doing
As we continue to navigate through the pandemic, it’s clear that hospitals are facing unprecedented pressure and working with limited resources. As a result, physicians and hospital administrators have had to make difficult decisions on which critical care resources to use when.
The National Institute for Clinical and Health Care Excellence (NICE) suggested that clinicians should consider a patient’s coexisting comorbidities or any other underlying health conditions when deciding what resources should be allocated to them.
When preparing for a disaster or other situation where additional resources are needed, it’s important to consider whom you need to respond, and according to Kenneth Iserson, if those you need to respond can and will, and then allocate resources depending on each situation.
Here is a look at how some healthcare organizations are allocating resources that can be used during a disaster and beyond.
Flexible Staffing Support
A flexible staffing support program addresses staff shortages by allowing staff to work in understaffed areas. Each job contains defined responsibilities that can be clinical or non-clinical and each shift is flexible and designed to be completed around the employee’s normal working hours.
Consideration of Frailty/Co-morbidities
When treating patients during a disaster/pandemic, many facilities have had to choose which patients receive certain resources. While that may not be a new concept, it’s important to keep in mind treatments that current patients or patients that have comorbidities are receiving. Are these treatments effective or providing benefits? If they are not, they should be withdrawn and resources allocated elsewhere.
Patient education is important, but providers often lack the resources to do so effectively. A Walters Kluwer whitepaper suggests that when done properly, patient education can save providers time and money allowing for better staff allocation and the ability to see more patients.
Videos have proven to be an effective form of patient education. The Cleveland Clinic found that patients who viewed colonoscopy videos were 50% less likely to need a repeat endoscopy within 3 years than patients who did not see the videos.
Including patient education resources in email, text or the patient portal can help patients get the information they need in their preferred format.
Consider Employee Wellness
Employee retention plays an important role in the need for resource allocation. Having enough employees on staff ensures that when you need to allocate, you can. It’s no secret that healthcare workers are under stress and work in one of the most stressful environments. Offering health and wellness programs that allow employees to receive non-emergent health services like vaccines, and treatment and assessment of minor illnesses like colds or strep throat can help keep employees healthy and reduce costs. Additionally, offering wellness programs like fitness options, yoga or meditation can go a long way in improving both wellness and morale. Healthy and appreciated employees are more likely to stay at an organization.