Nurse executives, CNOs and nurse managers have dealt with a lot of flux in the industry over the past decade. The shift to value-based patient care triggered belt-tightening measures in many hospitals and also led a movement toward more efficient, paperless systems. What challenges and opportunities might 2019 hold for CNOs? Here are four top trends to watch.
1. Data Will Continue to Guide Decision-Making
Some analysts predict that Big Data will give way to “Meaningful Small Data,” in terms of managing patient care. For example, your hospital’s cardiology specialty could begin to mine data to identify variances in patient outcomes within specific treatment pathways, like diuretic therapy in heart failure patients.
What this means for CNOs: You may be asked to take deeper dives into data to inform patient and population care. Instead of identifying overall trends, you may need to look at data that apply to your patients, specifically. Also, you may want to develop customized reports that deliver smaller data related not only to clinical issues like patient outcomes but to administrative concerns like staffing. For example, you can extract small data related to staffing by running reports on scheduling by department, time span (days, weeks, months, seasons), professional credential (RN, LPN/LVN, PharmD, etc.) or some other unit of measure to improve efficiency and reduce costs.
2. Artificial Intelligence (AI) Use in Healthcare will Grow
Deloitte reports that “physicians spend 21 percent of their time on non-clinical paperwork,” and that “artificial intelligence…could automate many of daily duties for physicians and clinicians.”
What this means for CNOs: If you’re unsure what AI is or how it might be used in your healthcare setting, you should start to educate yourself. The most relevant ways AI might impact hospital nursing includes its integration with EHRs to automate common processes. To discover the other ways AI might affect your role as a CNO, read “Top 12 Ways Artificial Intelligence will Impact Healthcare.”
3. Improving Operational Effectiveness Will be a Top Opportunity for Hospitals
In its 2019 HCEG Top 10 Challenges, Issues and Opportunities ranking, the HealthCare Executives Group lists “operational effectiveness” as a key challenge, presumably in the context of driving value for healthcare organizations. The group includes “process efficiency” and “implementing lean quality programs” as components of operational effectiveness.
What this means for CNOs: Improving process efficiency must be a focus for 2019, and that includes staffing your clinical departments with pinpoint accuracy. Consider implementing a nurse scheduling software system that enables you to reduce overtime and agency costs while maintaining adequate nurse staffing across your enterprise.
4. Healthcare Systems and Health Plans May be Collaborating More
As Deloitte points out, health insurers – not providers – are “the only players in the health care ecosystem that have a complete dataset for each insured patient.” Hospitals and health systems could leverage an insurer’s dataset to provide better patient care across the lifespan, but these two entities have not traditionally worked together to share data or develop a holistic approach to care delivery.
What this means for CNOs: You might find yourself engaged in more meetings with health plans during 2019, as your organization learns cooperative ways to deliver better patient-focused care within the value-based model. This type of collaboration could allow both providers and health plans to develop what Deloitte calls a “full cradle-to-grave spectrum of care within a fixed premium payment.”
As you can see, technology plays a role in nearly every predicted healthcare trend for 2019. But the good news is you don’t need to become a tech expert yourself. A better strategy? Rely on your software vendors to develop cost-effective solutions for issues like nurse scheduling that win rave reviews from your clinicians, perform as they’re supposed to and include best-in-class tech support. That way, you can do what you do best: provide exceptional nurse leadership to benefit patients and your organization alike.