Improving Healthcare & Patient Safety Through Workforce Management & AI TechnologyMarch 31, 2023
Labour shortage, unoptimised workflows, inefficient scheduling, and incomplete or inaccurate data records – these are some of the common issues found in healthcare organisations worldwide. Thankfully, advanced technological tools such as AI patient safety monitoring, healthcare robotics and workforce management software have made it possible to overcome these challenges.
Let’s take a look at the concerns faced in healthcare and how technology is revolutionising patient safety and healthcare efficiency.
What Are The Typical Challenges Faced By Healthcare Organisations?
1. Decentralised Data
Decentralised data means teams would generally be working in silos, with inefficient back-and-forth communications. Oftentimes, patient data would be incomplete, missing, or it would take too long to retrieve. In recent years, some healthcare organisations are starting to share patient data across systems, allowing healthcare professionals to lookup patient records within minutes. Having a centralised data system for medical records, appointment records and invoicing would increase efficiency and create a better experience for patients.
2. Paper-based Approach Causes Administrative Burdens
Paper-based records and job or report forms slow down processes by a lot. Mistakes and missing appointments can also easily happen with paper records and manual data entry. The solution to this would be to digitalise as much paperwork as possible, thereby eliminating human errors altogether and ensuring higher data accuracy.
3. Disorganised and Highly Manual Workflows
Another manual process which can be streamlined or automated completely is job scheduling. With manual scheduling, team communications and job assignment can be disorganised and time-consuming. Using scheduling software will enable jobs to be scheduled quickly, making it easy to assign the right staff to specific jobs.
4. Labour Crunch and Increasing Costs
Hospitals worldwide are facing a shortage in labour, on top of inflation costs. The labour crunch is even more of an issue in countries with an ageing population, such as Singapore. Besides government initiatives to hire more nurses, there is also a growing need for higher labour efficiency and automation through smart technologies like robotics.
5. Need For Better Emergency Response Time
In emergency situations, every second of response time counts. AI technology is a growing field which is capable of detecting emergencies and alerting personnel in real-time. For example, fall detection technology is used to monitor accidents for the elderly. Vertical location tracking is also excellent for pinpointing staff locations in multi-level buildings for faster response. By investing in these advanced technologies, healthcare organisations will be able to increase patient safety with less strain on manpower.
How Are Workforce Management, AI & Automation Technologies Impacting Healthcare Services?
1. AI-enabled Safety Monitoring
With AI-enabled computer vision, healthcare organisations can monitor falls in hospitals, nursing homes, etc. Healthcare professionals are then alerted in real-time and first responders can be dispatched immediately. By increasing emergency response time, more lives can be saved and injury severity is also reduced.
2. Workforce Scheduling Software
Job scheduling tools enable healthcare organisations to perform shift planning, schedule appointments, and check staff availability with ease. Staff can be assigned based on their location and role. Whether you are planning appointments and tasks for hospital staff or mobile caregivers, workforce management tools make the process much faster while reducing the possibility of wrong or missed appointments. Staff locations can also be monitored for emergency dispatch.
Other benefits of workforce management software include staff time tracking, centralised records and a digitalised workflow. Centralising data and integrating it with system records will improve record accuracy and prevent errors, and also improve team communications.
3. Automated Robots
During the peak of Covid-19, hospitals started investing more in technology solutions that would help with contactless services. One such example would be transport of medical supplies via automated robots. By deploying medical transport robots in hospitals, healthcare organisations were able to reduce the labour burdens on workers, and also increase hygiene safety for their patients. Other than being used for transportation, automated robots also have their use in cleaning services for healthcare facilities, which helps ensure environment cleanliness while decreasing labour.
4. AI-driven Data Analytics
Healthcare organisations can leverage on AI predictions for manpower and healthcare operations planning. AI is a powerful technology for making sense of data and turning it into charts and reports containing valuable information. It can provide predictions and recommendations based on historical trends, allowing healthcare organisations to better understand their workforce performance and also optimise their staffing and workflows. By integrating AI technology into your system, you can analyse data from monitoring devices such as fall detection sensors, and also from your workforce management software.
Conclusion – Using Technology To Solve Future Problems In Healthcare
With the introduction of advanced technologies such as AI-enabled monitoring, robotics and workforce productivity tools, it is possible to overcome long-standing and new challenges in the healthcare industry. These technologies help to optimise workflows, reduce labour burdens and enhance patient safety, ultimately leading to better outcomes for patients and less operating costs for healthcare organisations.
As more solutions are created in answer to healthcare challenges, organisations would do well to embrace these innovations and leverage their potential to drive positive change and improve patient care.