by Jeremy Gordon

Challenge

One of the nation’s leading cancer treatment centers is renowned for the quality and care of its providers. But it struggled to gain critical visibility into a basic organizational function: tracking their daily availability. The issue was causing several significant problems: It was difficult to plan and track the organization’s growth model, and both annual budget planning and capacity assessments were handicapped by the inability to make accurate staffing assumptions. Our client engaged Point B to improve its understanding of their most critical resources.

Building team partnerships

To develop a solution that was both clinically relevant and statistically sound, we worked to bridge the gaps among our client’s clinical, operational, IT and clinical analytics teams. This strategic connection was key, enabling our team to build an effective output in Tableau, a data visualization tool, to display provider availability. It was a critical first step toward establishing greater visibility into provider capacity for our client and across the organization.

To improve data reliability and accuracy, we developed a standardized process for submitting an out-of-office request in parallel with the availability tool. With so many groups unaware of a provider’s planned time out of office, we built in functions that ensure all stakeholder groups are informed when a request is confirmed.

Practical by design

Knowing that providers and staff are often skeptical of new technology tools, we prioritized simplicity in the design to improve user adoption.

Early on, we again brought together a diverse group of the stakeholders essential to a successful end product—including clinical analytics, clinical and operations leadership, the medical director’s office and strategy teams. We maintained a ‘less is more’ philosophy, designing features that are easy to understand and use.

The value of visibility

Our client’s new visibility into provider capacity yields multiple benefits. It has reduced the time it takes to process cancellation requests and increased scheduling transparency for clinical and business leadership. For the first time, our client can track, measure and analyze provider availability at both the individual and divisional levels. And the entire organization can plan more effectively, forecasting hiring needs and allocating resources where the demand for resources is exceeding supply.

Getting a handle on provider capacity is not only good business; it’s better healthcare.