Chad Harrington
December 2015

When we had opportunity to interview Kathy Kohnke, Executive VP of Advisory Services for Parallon, I jumped at the chance. They provide amazing resources for healthcare efficiency, and every hospital needs to know about them.

Parallon’s goal with these tools is to increase organization productivity to save company time and money. When they save resources, they can essentially invest more into making their healthcare services even better than they already are.

Here’s three unique tools that every hospital needs to know about:

1. StaRN: Specialty Training Apprenticeship for Registered Nurses

StaRN is hands-on speciality training for nurses. It takes place in clinical settings so that when program graduates go into the work force, they are prepared for a nursing speciality. It takes place in a simulation lab, so it’s very high-tech.

The goal is to help hospitals cut costs with labor initiatives.

Parallon graduated over 500 graduates from StaRN in 2014. StaRN solves a huge problem in healthcare because the main hurdle to overcome is not a nursing shortage, but an experienced nurses shortage.

StaRN is for hospitals, because hospitals are looking for experienced nurses. If the goal is excellence in healthcare, how does new grads get experience? That’s what Parallon’s StaRN program is for. It’s great for new grads who don’t have experience and don’t have a job opportunity, yet want to move forward in their career. They can get the needed experience through simulation, if they didn’t get speciality training during their college education.

2. PLUS: Productivity Labor Utility System

PLUS is a tool that measures how much time it takes to take care of an individual patient. This allows managers to look at all the productive hours and how they’re used, comparing budgeted hours to what employers expected.

The analogy Kohnke used is that it’s like loosing weight and being on a scale—you learn how to manage the weight loss through self-knowledge. You don’t wait until you’ve dropped pounds usually; instead, you gauge progress as you go. That way you can measure progress and pace. For healthcare, you can know your staff’s hours without waiting until the end of the pay period. This ensures that there’s no waste at the end of the day.

PLUS saves hospitals time by having a close eye on employee hours. The result is that they will save in costs in general, but also costs associated with staffing and recruiting. The ROI has great potential depending on current systems.

3. The Facility Scheduler

This scheduling tool helps hospitals match anticipated volume of patients with the volume of workers. It was developed by both technology personnel and nurses.

The analogy Kohnke used to describe the Facility Scheduler is airlines, who match passenger numbers to flights through scheduling. While airlines can’t predict the future, they’re very good at scheduling. That’s a major part of being an airline.

Similarly, hospitals schedule nurses and patients in a ratio that makes sense based on need. Hospitals are just getting into the art (and science) of scheduling she said. Parallon surveyed clinicians to see exactly what they wanted in a scheduling tool, so now—ten years after starting this project—Parallon is in the third generation of the “art of scheduling.”

Scheduling is an important art to hone into, because if well staffed airplanes save lives, how much more do hospitals save lives. So efficiency and precision are important for scheduling hospital staff, but she said that some hospitals are still scheduling with paper! That is inefficient according to Kohnke, who told Relode,

“How much more efficient is it when you can look from a 5,000 foot level if you have a 700 staff hospital? I’ll be able to look at all my levels. I’ll be able to look at all my nurses. For example, tonight at a seven o’clock, how many nurses will I be short, how many will I be over, what will my census be, so that I can know exactly the amount of labor that I need to take care of those patients.”

A final word

Like other supporting healthcare organizations, Parallon is devoted to improving health and health care organizations for the sake of healthier communities.

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