In today’s pandemic environment, healthcare organizations are facing unprecedented challenges that make staff and resource scheduling even more complex such as increased patient numbers with higher dependency levels and decreased staff availability due to illness or self-isolation requirements.
For over 30 years, workforce management solutions firm Softworks has been helping organizations of all types automate and streamline the complex administrative elements of employee management. Enterprise Ireland-backed company Softworks software is used by a large number of Healthcare organizations in Ireland and the United Kingdom, and most recently, the company has started projects with a number of Canadian Hospitals and is in discussions with U.S. organizations for further expansion.
“We’ve been checking in with our customers to see if we can help in any way and we’ve had some very insightful feedback about how our software is supporting them,” says Andrew Ferguson, CEO Softworks. “For example, our Employee Scheduling module is demonstrating its value for Healthcare Providers right now.”
The company’s Employee Scheduling software brings together information on employee hours, attendance, schedules, annual leave, skills, sickness, planned absences, and employee preferences. Based on this information the scheduling manager can run the Softworks Scheduling wizard to create a roster for the entire organization at the touch of a button, identify any gaps that may arise, and offer these shifts out to employees via email or text.
“Having the right people with the right skill set in the right place at the right time is a critical element in the delivery of patient care for healthcare organizations — especially now,” explained Ferguson. “Employee scheduling is an important tool in achieving this but can be time-consuming and complex as employees skills, their availability, the fairness of the schedule, and adherence to labor laws all need to be considered.”
Ferguson explained that the creation of automated skilled-based schedules that match patient dependency levels means a big reduction in the amount of time spent on scheduling and a reduction in operating costs through the optimal use of existing staff instead of using overtime or agency staff. Employee engagement is improved by giving employees more control and input over their schedules through the Softworks Employee Self-Service application on a desktop or mobile device.
“One of our healthcare customers shared a really positive story about this with me,” added Ferguson. “Due to COVID-19, they had a number of ICU staff put into self-isolation which meant they were faced with a shortage of correctly skilled staff in ICU. The HR team was asked to identify anyone in the organization who had these particular skills acquired within the last 10 years but who had relocated departments. The Scheduling Manager told us it only took a couple of minutes to be able to pull in a single report from the Skills and Training module of the Softworks system to give them immediate visibility of who they could approach to relocate into ICU in the immediate short term so they could continue to deal with patients presenting with COVID-19 and general ICU management.”
Like many organizations, a large number of hospital administration staff are working from home during the lockdown and while they previously recorded their working hours and attendance by clocking in and out at the office, they’re now logging their Time and Attendance through the Softworks Employee Self-Service App on their mobile or laptop.
Ferguson shared an example from an HR manager responsible for payroll in a large hospital. The manager is working from home and because the Softworks solution is cloud-based, she has the same functionality available at home as she had when working at the hospital. The manager is able to export the full, monthly record of employee time and attendance to her payroll system with no interruption — so the hospital employees are paid accurately and on time. She is proud that she is continuing to provide the same level of payroll accuracy despite the change in location and that she is supporting her frontline colleagues in a very tangible way.
“We’ve always been able to demonstrate the many benefits of our software, but in the face of a global crisis like this, you can’t help but question how you and your company is contributing to the greater good,” said Ferguson. “Hearing this positive feedback from our Healthcare customers has made us so proud that our solutions are helping them during this challenging time. We are so appreciative of the incredible work they do and we’ll continue to support them as they fight COVID-19.”