Dawn Burke
Author: Dawn Burke | Date February 12, 2020

5 Mistakes That Will Jeopardize Your Centralized Team’s Productivity

Many health systems choose to centralize certain clinical tasks so the care team can focus more on patients or other top-of-license activities. A centralized workflow is a great way to increase organizational efficiency and enhance the delivery of care.

Properly managing the centralized team is critical to ensuring workflows remain effective for providers, staff and the health system. Healthfinch has helped hundreds of organizations navigate the operational changes required to centralize the prescription renewal request process. We’ve compiled our top five mistakes to avoid that can hinder your team’s productivity.

1. Running too thin

Keeping staffing levels to a minimum can help drive efficiency and reduce costs, but use caution in taking it too far. Don’t over-optimize your processes to the point where there are too few staff to support planned and unplanned absences of team members. It’s inevitable that staff will get sick, take a vacation, need personal time, etc. If not staffed appropriately to accommodate these varying schedules, organizations are often faced with hiring temporary staff when gaps arise. This can result in poorer productivity and higher costs in the end.

2. Not Cross-Training Staff

To avoid running too thin and relying on expensive temporary staff, it’s important to cross-train staff in a variety of functions that may fall under the centralized team, such as prescription renewal requests, prior authorizations, or scheduling. Look to align training with staff who are performing similar tasks. Alternatively, some organizations may occasionally leverage the expertise of nurses that are performing triage functions.

3. Lack of Communication

Keep your team motivated with regular communication. Relay goals to the team, celebrate milestones and other successes, reward when productivity goals are met, and provide opportunities for staff to give regular feedback. Staff should feel empowered to make suggestions for improvement and have a clear channel to do so, such as talking directly to a supervisor or submitting an anonymous form online. Additionally, use metrics and dashboards to help identify highly competent staff and help create a culture of efficiency.

4. Inconsistent Quality Checks

Once staff are trained and up to speed, it can be tempting to let things run on auto-pilot. Be sure to perform regular quality assurance checks to ensure that quality isn’t being sacrificed for efficiency. At intervals that work for your organization (weekly, monthly, etc), randomly select a handful of tasks to audit from each centralized staff member to get insight into whether workflows are appropriately being followed or if additional training is needed in particular areas.

5. Not having sufficient buy-in from providers

If you haven’t successfully received buy-in from providers, it can be difficult to run a smooth operation. Centralized staff may feel less motivated and confident in the tasks they’re performing, resulting in poor performance and low morale. Ensure this isn’t the case by communicating the value with providers and emphasizing how a centralized approach will allow their care teams to better focus on patient-centered tasks. Help your providers understand the rules that govern the centralized team’s workflows by including them in protocol and workflow consensus meetings. By doing this, you’re likely to gain the additional benefit of reduced variability in workflow and rule design, which will have a positive effect on productivity.

Proper training, staffing, communication, audits, and provider buy-in will help ensure your centralized team is being safe, efficient, and most importantly, happy. Delegating clinical tasks to this high functioning team can enable health systems to reach peak levels of productivity.

Thinking about adding prescription renewal requests to the work of your centralized team? Download our ebook, “Implementing Standardized Refill Protocols,” for more information about centralizing this task. 

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Dawn Burke

Written By: Dawn Burke on February 12, 2020

Dawn is the Marketing Manager at healthfinch, and is responsible for all aspects of marketing - from online presence and brand management to conferences and content creation.