9 steps for improving labor management in ASCs

Labor management is an ASC's biggest expense, and labor efficiency is often hard to find. Pat Jepsen, Surgical Management Professional's director of operations, offers strategies and tips for developing efficient workflows and employee-to-employee communication.

1. Set a "worked hours per case" goal and manage to it. Review quarterly and adjust. Know the difference of having long orthopedic cases vs. ophthalmology. Make the staff aware of the goal.

2. Be conversant with flex scheduling. Flex scheduling is an art of fine tuning and balance. Sometimes we get it right, sometimes we don't. The key is understanding what you are trying to do.

3. Utilize prn/pool and part time staff as much as possible while keeping efficiency and consistency.

4. Optimize the team; if you have strong leaders rely on them. Know and develop each staff members' strengths.  Use those strengths to the center's advantage.

5. Schedule staff as the OR schedule dictates. Keep abreast of the schedule; it may change many times during the day. You want to be accurately staffed for the day and not have a team that came in for a case that cancelled yesterday.

6. No idle time. If there's nothing to do, the reality is, it's time to go home.

7. Network. Someone down the street may have a great idea.

8. Share staff. If you have multiple centers in a geographical area, develop a float pool. Hire staff that is willing to float to different centers. This can be very helpful when centers have different days of the week in which they are busy.

9. Having a volunteer help in the waiting room of a busy center can be invaluable. They can keep families abreast of what's going on with a lengthy case, notify family when the case is over and keep the waiting room tidied. All of these are things that can eat up expensive labor hours.

Read Ms. Jebsen's full article here.

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