WHPUOS Analysis: Reducing Healthcare Labor Costs
It’s the job of healthcare managers to ensure their staff is being productive. One way to measure that is through a simple formula that compares the number of hours worked with the volume of patients seen in that hour. Known as Work Hours per Unit of Service (WHPUOS), this allows managers to understand the cost of employing staff compared to the revenue made. Since hospital salaries are about 35 to 45 percent of total hospital costs, it’s important to make sure this investment is worthwhile for the hospital.
How WHPUOS Works
In order to calculate WHPUOS, a person needs to determine what a unit of service is. It can vary between departments. For example, in the emergency room a unit of service may be considered the number of admissions in a given period. Next, a person will have to factor in the total number of hours worked during that period. If there were five nurses on staff each working a 12-hour shift, that would be a total of 60 working hours.
Finally, the actual working hours are divided by the units of service to determine just how productive the staff was during this time.
Methods of Determining WHPUOS
While it sounds simple to calculate the WHPUOS, it might not always be so easy to get this data in real-time. Managers need to stay on top of their productivity levels right away, as waiting days or weeks for a report can lead to thousands of dollars in wasted productivity.
Therefore, it’s important to always be thinking of ways to both measure WHPUOS while reducing losses. Luckily, there are some tools that can help healthcare organizations.
Circle of Work Analysis
With a Circle of Work analysis, managers can take a look at multiple workflows in their office that have an effect on one value stream. During the process, a manager will physically observe a unit of service taking place while recording each step of the process. This will allow them to eventually go through and categorize steps that are wasting time and steps that are essential to the process.
After this, they will be able to create a strategy to eliminate these wasteful steps and hopefully develop a more productive workforce.
Identify the Eight Lean Wastes
While each facility or hospital is different, there are some problems that are unified across the board. It’s important for managers to always keep an eye out for wasteful issues among staff, and they can do so by keeping these eight lean waste principles in mind:
- Keeping patients waiting
- Being over-productive, such as ordering unnecessary testing or re-running a diagnostic test
- Committing mistakes during the patient care process
- Transporting patients or goods from place to place
- Moving from locations, such as nurses having to go back to the station to chart
- Ordering supplies that aren’t needed
- Preventing nurses from using their given talents, such as assigning a stick specialist to work in the psych wing
- Over-processing, such as collecting extra, unnecessary information from the patient
Use a Shift Scheduling Program
When it comes down to it, poor scheduling can be a major source of waste. If managers have too many hours worked per unit of service, the first thing they should think about it cutting back how many employees are working. But what if they had the appropriate level of staffing from the very beginning? With the help of ShiftWizard, a cloud-based SaaS product for hospitals and long-term care facilities in the US, shift leaders can get their nursing schedule right without the need for canceling shifts or wasting productivity.
By identifying WHPUOS issues in real-time, managers can take better control of their budget, ensure productivity of staff, and keep patient care levels satisfactory.