What Busy Hospitals Can Teach You About Office Management – You don’t need to work in a hospital to benefit from the knowledge shared in this post!
What Busy Hospitals Can Teach You About Office Management
Working in a busy hospital is demanding and requires complicated systems with clear instructions in order to manage unpredictable and a constantly changing workflow. The central command center is the emergency department, and from there the patients are sent throughout the institution for necessary treatment and care. In comparison with a busy office, the emergency room staff fills many roles, such as that of a well-trained receptionist. As a sort of triage, when a client walks into the office, it is the job of the receptionist to filter, assess and send that person off in the appropriate direction.
One of the most difficult tasks in running a hospital is matching patient load with adequate staff at any given moment. One way that hospitals handle this is through the use of electronic boards to stay in touch with the other departments in the hospital and to instantly inform everyone of important updates or life threatening situations. According to the Government of South Australia’s website, hospital dashboards can be used in the emergency department to show incoming flow and to coordinate with inpatient dashboards to assess the availability of beds in any particular unit. Other dashboards can be used to coordinate patient release times with ambulance services and to schedule elective surgeries according to a daily activity list. The key to all of this is constant coordination and communication with other departments. As in any major office, all of the departments are interlocked and move forward by staying in touch with what the others are doing.
Smart Electronic Systems
An ingenious group of nurses in New Zealand recognized the flow challenges in their hospital and formulated a plan that can work in any office just as well. The nurses from Bay of Plenty District Health Board created an electronic tick box system that, according to algorithms, instantly gauges which departments in the hospital are understaffed to the point of endangering the lives of their patients. Electronically, nurses tick off boxes that apply to their ward at that moment, such as:
- One nurse taking care of more than six patients on a shift.
- Missing or postponed meal breaks.
- All beds are filled.
- Lack of administrative support staff.
- Inappropriate skill combination.
- A floor falling below recommended staffing levels.
The clever thing about this system is that it doesn’t leave any department in isolation. The minute it is clear to everyone in the organization that one unit needs help, management decisions can be made to reallocate workers. The system works in real-time to solve immediate shortages a hospital deals with on a day-to-day basis, such as during a critical time of the year, before a particular event or during an outbreak of a flu epidemic. Another scheduling program adapted for the hospital situation was created by one of Hubble’s computer scientists. The system allows for dynamic rescheduling issues that allocate unused manpower to departments where it is needed.
Making the Most of Teamwork
As in any large and well-run organization, teamwork is the name of the game. In the hospital setting, good communication between colleagues and departments is vital to encourage flexibility while staying focused on the care and needs of the patients. All of this makes for a tightly run ship that can handle the large waves of patients by instantly by reorganizing the available staff and using them to their best ability. In the high stress environment, using digital information puts everyone on the same page so that everyone can work efficiently towards the same goal.
Monica Gomez is a freelance writer who specializes in writing about health and medical-related topics. Sandra covers fields relating to management and new medical technology.