How Can Staff Performance Boost Patient Outcomes?

Health administrators have a lot to worry about, but staff performance and patient outcomes are at the top of the list. These two issues are linked to one another since patient outcomes are often dependent on whether a staff performs poorly or exceptionally. In order to improve patient outcomes, hospital administrators should work to build a strong staff through clear communication, relationship development, and the use of analytical data.

Communication is key
One of the main factors that improves a staff’s performance and boosts patient outcomes is adequate communication. If doctors and medical staff don’t communicate, a patient could be mistreated or misdiagnosed, which puts the facility at risk of a lawsuit. Staff could also become aggravated with one another and point fingers, creating animosity within¬†the group.

Even the smallest missteps can cause large communication issues. For instance, a doctor might forget to tell a nurse that there’s been a change in a patient’s care, causing the nurse to blindly follow through with the original treatment plan. Or, a nurse may not articulately explain a patient’s condition to his or her family over the phone, causing them to react a different way than expected. Lastly, even if notes are written clearly, a nurse or doctor may struggle to understand them and end up misinterpreting care guidelines as a result.

That’s why hospitals and medical facilities need to implement firm communication on every front, from speaking clearly with patients’ families to ensuring that staff asks questions if something is unclear. Administrators can make sure hospital staff are communicating effectively by performing monthly training sessions for doctors and nurses to work on their communication skills. Administrators can even bring in mock patients to determine whether there are any issues with communication or patient care. Highlighting these minor problems when they arise will help boost staff performance while ensuring patients get the care they need.

“39% of employees left an institution because of a callous relationship with a supervisor.”

Develop relationships with staff
When employees are asked why they chose to leave a hospital or clinic, one of the more common reasons stated is a poor relationship with a supervisor. Many employees claim the lack of relationship between themselves and their manager hurts their job performance and makes them unhappy in their current position. Approximately 39 percent of employees have left an institution because of a callous relationship with a supervisor.

That’s why it’s important for supervisors and administrators to focus on rounding outcomes. Essentially, that means recognizing your staff for their quality work and building a relationship by asking about family life and other priorities outside of work. If employees feel like their supervisor cares about them, they are less likely to leave and will feel more valued. So how can an administrator develop a relationship with his staff? Ask good questions, including:

  • Who haven’t I built a relationship with or checked in with in a while?
  • Is there anyone I need to recognize for a stellar performance today?
  • Are people performing the same tasks consistently, or are their performances all over the place?
  • What parts of processes need to be improved?
  • Do staff have the right tools they need to complete the job?

Asking these questions helps you immediately identify faults in yourself, your staff, and the hospital or clinic. Recognizing these issues allows administrators and supervisors to correct the problems at hand and find ways to prevent them from happening again in the future. This recognition can go a long way in any medical facility and makes staff feel valued, leading them to perform better and give better care to patients.

Use analytical data
Data is another concrete way to boost staff performance, and subsequently, patient care. Hospitals and medical facilities that use analytical dashboards can clearly measure staff performance and identify exactly where something went wrong. Medical facilities that use these dashboards believe they help improve patient care at a lower cost for the hospital. This data also helps hospitals avoid federal penalties for high readmission rates, prolonged stays, and patient dissatisfaction. If staff reaches goals set out in the analytical dashboards, they are rewarded and receive bonuses for their hard work.

Administrators can easily create Web-based dashboards, which are essentially a series of spreadsheets, online that automatically update themselves. The dashboards work in conjunction with EHRs and billing records to update medical information and performance rates. Using numbers as a source of measurement will allow staff to measure themselves without administrators constantly needing to keep a close eye. These types of systems improve efficiency, accountability, and in turn boost staff morale when the target numbers are hit. Instead of playing the blame game, administrators and staff can see where a performance went wrong and a patient suffered. Using this tactic alongside firm communication and relationship development can improve staff performance and patient care.

Download our free whitepaper, Process Improvement in Healthcare, to learn more about improving staff performance to achieve better patient outcomes.

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