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Meaningful Health Care Informatics Blog

Aug 8 2010   9:43PM GMT

Identifying and measuring staff productivity

Posted by: RedaChouffani

For many health organizations attempting to reduce costs usually means cutting staff schedules.  But the reality is that with reimbursement cuts and healthcare premiere constantly on the rise, the highest expense is payroll and that means it will be the first to suffer.  In most organizations this is a very sensitive subject.  No one wants to let go individuals, but at the sometime the CFO or an administrator is responsible for maintaining the organization operational while maintaining a high level of quality and care delivery.

So, is there an easy way to reduce costs and ensure that you are only making minor adjustments?  In working with several practices, many are taking a different approach to this.  The plan executed was to identify what everyone is spending time on, and based on the findings reorganize the resources to increase efficiency.  However, while most organizations simply ask their staff to write out what they do during the work hours and what different tasks they are involved in, some groups are taking a more direct approach by utilizing legal monitoring tools that can see everything you are doing from how long you are staying on a site, personal passwords, emails, files copied and more.

For some these spy applications do provide a quick and easy way to regain some of the lost time spent on no business tasks during working hours.  And it is very attractive solution especially when some of these solutions describe the following ROI (Return on Investment).

One product that is commonly found in the market provides a Return on investment calculator that claims for an organization with 100 employees,  and an average of 90 minutes spent online of which 30% of it for personal use, an average hourly pay rate of $20/hour this would result on this application saving over $108,000.00 in one single year.

While the savings sound terrific, some side effects are bound to exist.  Some of the questions being raised with this method are:
how would the big brother concept affect morals?
Also now that a system admin, or an administrator knows a little too much information about a specific staff how is that going to impact the interoffice relationships in the organizations?
Should employees have a disclosure of who sees their information?
If a Patient is reviewing their PHI and it is exposed to a supervisor or manager, is that considered a HIPAA violation?
Is this big brother setting force administers to spend more time policing their staff?
Would it be more affective to have a third party firm review those logs and discuss findings with staff anonymously?

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