How the Shadow Staff Starts

Our example begins with a dashboard. The IT department created it so Hospital Administration and Quality can monitor trends in their patient satisfaction scores. They can compare their performance in the 9 key dimensions with their target scores.

Meanwhile, the nursing department wants to ensure they are excelling in the one key dimension that pertains directly to their performance – Communication with Nurses – which is a compilation of 3 separate questions from the patient survey. While all 3 questions are important to them, they are particularly interested in the third question: did nurses explain things in a way you could understand?

Unfortunately, the dashboard only presents the 9 key dimensions — not the 32 individual questions. Also, the dashboard presents survey data for the entire health system — but the nurses want to see the data for each unit. Nursing management made a request to IT and carefully explained their requirements. Unfortunately, the IT backlog was sizable and prohibited a near-term response. So the nurse manager assigned a staff member to collect the data, key it into a spreadsheet and circulate it each month – a duplication of effort for sure.

The grid (below) illustrates the problem. Different audience members require different views of the data. When they cannot get what they need, they create duplication.

Preset reports (i.e. “canned” reports) are limited, falling short of the complex needs of today’s hospitals. Lack of skill in hospital decision support also slows the process of fulfilling vital requests for reports. As a result, shadow staff is created.

IT departments need tools and expertise especially designed for quick yet comprehensive response to these critical reporting requirements. The organization in this example would benefit greatly from a flexible, enterprise reporting system.

Polaris Strategic Solutions is designed and dedicated to serve hospitals with flexible, enterprise-wide tools, hospital-specific expertise and excellent customer service. If you need a solution to inefficient reporting, let us show you how we can help.


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