NHS Interoperability: How systems integration can streamline your temporary staffing operations
Flexibility is a crucial part of modern healthcare staffing. With patient demand and staff supply constantly fluctuating, it’s important your staffing systems enable you to safely and efficiently deploy staff exactly where they’re needed.
One barrier to this flexibility that we often see is fragmented workforce management systems. As we’ll discuss in this blog, systems that don’t integrate with one another often slow your temporary staffing workflows down, making it harder to act quickly to resolve any issues or fill shifts when last-minute vacancies arise.
However, a workforce solution which is fully interoperable end-to-end can streamline many of these temporary staffing processes, enabling you to identify and react faster to changes, deploy staff where the patient need is greatest, save time on manual and repetitive admin tasks, and more.
Keep reading to discover why interoperability is so important in a workforce solution, and how it can help you build a more agile and efficient workforce.
Spotting rota gaps sooner with full visibility
A common challenge for workforce teams in the NHS is a lack of visibility of the complete staffing picture – but what are the causes of this, and how can a fully interoperable solution help?
For a staffing team to function effectively, there needs to be a single source of truth that everyone can rely upon for accurate and up-to-date information. This requires all workforce systems in use to be able to speak to each other, so the relevant data can be shared and visible all in one place.
However, this is difficult to achieve when systems can’t properly integrate, which leaves staff having to switch back and forth between platforms to find what they’re looking for, enter information more than once, or in rare cases, enter the information incorrectly. All of this can be a barrier to having a clear, reliable overview of your staffing operations, which can lead to rota gaps or other errors being spotted later than they could have been.
So, how can a fully interoperable solution help?
When using a fully integrated system, you can be confident that any rota gaps or errors are visible to the relevant teams as soon as they arise. Through interoperability, data can be passed safely and automatically between platforms, ensuring an accurate and up-to-date data picture at all times – without creating an additional admin burden for teams. This enables staff to take quick, decisive action to resolve any issues without delay.
Being able to plan ahead and take action early naturally has a whole host of benefits: peace of mind that rotas are compliant, no stress over finding a last-minute locum, and a fair rate for the shift, to name just a few. Ultimately, this saves organisations time, avoids unnecessary costs and keeps wards safely staffed.
Finding the right worker seamlessly with full system integration
When it comes to filling gaps in your rota, time is often of the essence. However, fragmented systems can often slow the process of finding a locum down, which can be costly as well as stressful.
Suppose you have a vacant shift on your permanent roster due to a clinician taking study leave. In a disjointed system, finding a replacement for this shift through your internal staff bank or external agency can be a hassle. You might need to ask for cover in a WhatsApp group, personally make calls to locums, re-enter the details of the shift from your rota system into your bank system, or some combination of all three. Plus, if the shift remains unfilled by your internal bank, you’ll then have to involve an agency, adding a further layer of complexity.
However, with an integrated solution where your bank, rostering, and agency management tools can communicate seamlessly, you can eliminate all of this work. With a fully integrated workforce solution such as Patchwork, it’s possible to send all the shift information from your rota to your staff bank in just a few clicks, whilst simultaneously informing everyone that this action has been taken via a clear audit trail. If you then need to cascade that shift to agency, this is an equally simple process; with functionality within the system to create agency ‘tiers’, you can request your preferred agencies first, ensuring you get the most appropriate and cost-effective worker for the shift.
Driving efficiencies is an important and ongoing goal for the NHS. The NHS Long Term Plan points this out specifically, calling upon organisations to continue promoting ‘cash-releasing productivity growth’.
Interoperability is a huge part of this, empowering staff to safely move quicker and more flexibly to meet any challenges that may arise.
If you’d like to further discuss how an end-to-end workforce solution can help your organisation meet its efficiency targets, please reach out to one of our expert team at firstname.lastname@example.org.