4 Ways for ASCs to Save Real Dollars on Human Resources

MedHQNew technology has ASCs increasingly shifting towards automating human resources – with possible savings up to $300,000 annually, according to one industry professional.

Thomas Jacobs of ASC HR-management company MedHQ said recent technological advances have applications in ASC HR and, if implemented correctly, could save facilities significant dollars through reduced costs and increased efficiency.  

"We are in the era of technology and it's debatable whether technology has improved our lifestyle, but it's no doubt improved our efficiency," Mr. Jacobs says. "Technology has demonstrated the ability to improve efficiency in many different ways, and HR is no different."

In an upcoming Becker's ASC Review webinar on June 4 titled "The Juice That's Left to Squeeze: How HR Information Systems Save Even the Most Cost-Effective ASCs Real Dollars," Mr. Jacobs will discuss how ASC leaders can implement new technology to optimize human resources functions.

"Most centers pay employees an hourly rate and truly the less time employees spend doing HR things, the more of their paid time will be productive instead of administrative," Mr. Jacobs says. "If you can reduce the amount of administrative time, you will see an impact on your bottom line. You are also reducing the questions and requests coming into the administer for HR, and automating important processes, such as staying current with licensing to reduce the risk of fines or claims for employees practicing without the right license renewals."

Here are four ways Mr. Jacobs says ASCs can see real dollar benefits from automating HR functions. Many more examples, and associated bottom-line impact, will be discussed in the upcoming webinar.

1. Organize employee issued mobile devices.
Ambulatory surgery centers often issue mobile devices, such as office cell phones and lap tops along with building keys when an employee joins the center.

"When office employees are given a lap top or cell phone, they are either user-rights granted or security rights granted, and it's good to have an HR system in place to structure this process," Mr. Jacobs says. "You want to make sure to retrieve everything issued to the employee, whether it's the mobile device, password or keys when they leave."

When you automate these systems, you can log into the HR program and see what the employee was issued to make sure security is under control before they leave, especially if they had access to patient records and HIPAA-sensitive information.

2. Keep licensing and certification current.
Instead of entering licensing and certification renewal into a spreadsheet for each employee, it's more efficient and effective to track these renewals with an automated program.

"You can set up an HR system that sends alerts to the employee or supervisor that the ACLS or BLS certification is expiring," Mr. Jacobs says. "This gives the employee and supervisor warning through their email account about the expiration so they can take action now before it's too late. It's a big issue if an ASC has someone continue working with an expired license."

3. Employees are able to self-service.
If employees have control over their HR functions, they are less likely to ask their managers about them. Employees should be able to check electronic pay stubs, request paid time off and view their insurance plan online at their convenience.

"Automating these systems can save time, and even prevent a sticky situation in the case of requesting PTO," Mr. Jacobs says. "Traditionally, if there are 10 nurses and spring break is coming up, the person who gets the time off is often the person who gets the sticky note to the supervisor's desk first. But what if that note gets lost? When the HR system is automated, there's no question or debate about who requested the time first; it's a lot better than the sticky note."

ASCs can also upload the employee handbook online for employees to reference any time.

4. Managers can make modifications quickly and easily.
When managers want to promote, demote or modify employee pay rate,
they can revise the automated systems online and request any additional approvals for the adjustment quickly and easily.

"If there is a process online with workflow and multiple levels of approval for these modifications, it's more efficient than handwriting them on a form and running around the office to get the signatures," Mr. Jacobs says. "All the supervisor has to do is enter the adjustment and a message is automatically sent to the next level of management to click on a link for approval."

More Articles on Surgery Centers:
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