Van Wert Health is a 22-bed, nonprofit hospital in northwestern Ohio. An Elevate workforce productivity analysis comparing Van Wert to benchmark and peer hospitals revealed overstaffing in certain areas of the hospital. The nursing department sought an objective and criteria-based method to determine appropriate daily nurse staffing levels.
Elevate Supply and Expense Management Solutions
Elevate created an acuity-based tool that nurse managers utilize to determine the correct level of staffing needed. The model incorporates acuity data from Van Wert’s electronic medical record (EMR) for patients in the hospital and expected patients, and is used by nurse managers to align worked hours per unit with that day’s mix of patients.
Nurse managers favor the acuity-based staffing tool. It has improved productivity and is on track to help Van Wert save $138,000 this year, a 5 percent reduction. Rather than eliminating nurses, the savings is from fewer hours worked.
“As the Chief Nursing Officer for a small community hospital, one of the daily challenges faced is appropriate staffing for patient census and patient acuity. Moving to an acuity-based staffing tool has been one of the most significant initiatives implemented this year. Patient acuity, which is determined by the electronic medical record, is added to the Elevate acuity tool, which then calculates the number of staff needed. Even through weeks of high COVID patient census, staffing was managed to patient need, patient acuity and our productivity metrics.”
“Through the use of the Elevate acuity tool and evaluating staffing productivity metrics, an opportunity was identified to move our outpatient infusions to our pre-operative department. This change stabilized the FTE usage of the pre-op nurses and created a cost savings of $138,000 in one department, a 5 percent cost reduction. Furthermore, because the location change reduced the patient’s travel time through the hospital, this change also improved patient satisfaction.”Elizabeth Neuschwanger, RN
Chief Nursing Officer & VP Patient Care Services
Van Wert Health