This article was written by Lisa Miller.
Nurses have again topped a survey naming them the most trusted profession in the US. By engaging with this extensive resource, healthcare leaders can uncover vital front line insights and learn how nurses can enhance patient care and save your hospital money.
The survey, from The Commonwealth Fund, The New York Times and Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health published in October 2019, supports the findings of an earlier Gallup survey. The latter report ranked nurses as the most trusted profession for the 17th consecutive year, with medical doctors in second place.
Nurses are vital participants and contributors to improving patient outcomes and reducing costs. Below I’ve highlighted some of the benefits they offer to healthcare organizations, but this is by no means an exhaustive list:
Patient flow through your PACU: Delays in patient flow your PACU can impact your entire healthcare system and ultimately your operating margins. Specialist nursing staff can play a key role in collaborating with other team members in this critical area of healthcare. Their observation and care for patients recovering from anesthesia requires vital communication skills, people who are skilled at working in an interdisciplinary team. Insights from your front line staff can identify the obstacles to improving patient flow in this key area.
Reducing the risk of readmissions: The incidence of hospital readmissions and the impact on your organization’s costs is a concern for all healthcare leaders. Readmissions result in decreased reimbursements from CMS. Nursing staff liaise with patients at the time of discharge to reduce issues relating to low patient engagement, poor communication and poor discharge planning which often lead to readmissions.
Poor processes throughout the patient’s journey: Your patient’s journey through a care setting is often a very complex issue, typically encompassing several departments in a hospital. Problems arise when a breakdown in communication occurs, which is often exacerbated by teams working in silos. Front line nursing staff can provide observations and give patients a voice to help you understand where silos may be inhibiting delivery of care. The holistic approach of our Patient Journey Mapping™ solution delivers additional insights to help in this area.
Helping to understand Social Determinants of Health (SDOH): A recent report from The Government Accountability Office notes that these are a major impediment to managing care for high-cost Medicaid beneficiaries. Nurses can play a transformative role in understanding Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) affecting your patients. These patients are more likely to suffer from life limiting conditions such as congestive heart failure or diabetes for example.
Enabling innovation in your hospital: Innovation must form a central part of your organization’s future strategy to ensure effective cost management. I recommend a focus on every day innovation which actively supports all of your employees to contribute to the generation of new ideas and innovation beginning with employees and teams where motivation is already evident.
Nursing is about identifying problems and suggesting solutions. With their daily experience delivering vital patient care at the front lines, nursing staff are an invaluable resource for innovative strategies across your facility.
With virtual care on the rise new technologies can also enhance this approach. In particular, telehealth and telemedicine, which enable remote monitoring and coordinated care, are key areas where nurses can offer insights from new innovations.
Research suggests that everyday employee innovation saved companies more than $110 million dollars in time, materials, labor or energy, an average of $1,256 per suggestion.
Furthermore, recognizing the contribution your front line team not only enhances morale, it can boost retention and engagement. In 2018, the turnover rate for bedside registered nurses increased to 17.2%, one of the highest in the past decade. This turnover can have a profound impact on your hospital margins.
The 2019 National Healthcare Retention & RN Staffing report states:
“…the average cost of turnover for a bedside RN ranges from $40,300 to $64,000 resulting in the average hospital losing $4.4M – $6.9M.”
I encourage you to utilize this vital source of insights in your hospital to enhance patient care and identify areas for sustainable cost savings.
For more insight into how innovation and additional strategies can help hospitals to improve their profit margin download our Research Report – The Top 7 Ways To Add Hospital Profit Margin Within 30 Days and Deliver Exceptional Patient Care.