Time and Attendance Management Challenges in Healthcare
July 11, 2018
How to choose a system that addresses industry complexities
Labor costs make a greater impact on healthcare organizations than perhaps any other industry. Industry experts note that a hospitals labor ratio—the total labor costs divided by total revenue—is one of the most important metrics tracked by healthcare CFOs. The median labor ratio at U.S. hospitals is 55%, but leaders in the industry aim for a best practice labor ratio of 45%. The right systems for scheduling labor and tracking time and attendance are essential to help rein in labor costs.
Healthcare is a people-centric industry
Taking care of patients is extremely people-intensive. Without enough doctors, nurses, pharmacists, lab technicians, and therapists, healthcare facilities risk failing their patients. These highly skilled professionals earn top wages, so having more people scheduled than necessary increases operating costs.
Currently, there is a shortage of nurses and other trained healthcare professionals. Without careful management, overtime costs can quickly torpedo labor budgets.
Supporting patients is a 24/7/365 operation
Adding to the complexity, healthcare professionals often do not work a normal eight-hour shift or a consistent schedule. In-patient healthcare facilities are around-the-clock operations. Employees who work overnight are often paid shift
differentials. Time and attendance records need to include information about what time of day or night each employee worked rather than just the total hours worked.
Four must-have features in a time and attendance system
Attendance is a top issue when skilled employees are mission-critical. to one Chief Nursing Officer, “the biggest disciplinary issue at ASCs [ambulatory surgery centers] is attendance, as many employees have young children or elderly parents who have emergencies. Tardiness can also become an issue…”
To ensure that a time and attendance solution will address the complexities of healthcare labor, look for these important capabilities:
- Mobile clock-in / clock-out: Many healthcare workers travel to patients’ homes, including physical, occupational, and speech therapists as well as home health nurses and aides. Being able to clock in and out for these appointments on a mobile device will help employees report their time more accurately than trying to recall the information later.
- Geo-positioning verification: If you are going to let mobile employees clock in and out from the field, geo-positioning enables the organization to verify that employees are actually where they say they are. This feature is just as powerful in a hospital or facility setting—instead of forcing employees to punch a timeclock, they can clock in on their phones with the system verifying they are inside the facility.
- Mobile schedules: Healthcare workers often have shifting schedules, so being able to check their schedules quickly from a mobile device is important. Employees in the field have their schedules changed often as patients telephone the healthcare organization to cancel or move appointments. The mobile app will enable them to keep checking the schedule for any changes throughout the day, without calling back to the office.
- Pay rules: The system needs to be able to calculate salary based on a variety of pay rules, including shift differentials, irregular shifts, overtime rates, holiday and leave pay. The information in the time and attendance system needs to seamlessly flow to the payroll system for accurate paycheck calculations.
AsureForce automates healthcare time and attendance
AsureForce Time & Labor Management calculates healthcare employees’ salaries based on various pay rules, including shift, overtime, holiday and leave pay. Ronnie Evans, owner and CFO of a 96-bed licensed nursing facility, said that AsureForce “gave us the best flexibility and the ability to configure settings in a variety of ways. It can do what we need it to do and more. Some of our shifts are 8 hours, some 7.75, some 7.5…all of these have to integrate with the different departments. This was the only system that could handle that.”
AsureForce Mobile enables employees to easily clock in and out from their mobile device, while geopositioning verifies their location. Employees can also transfer work assignments, submit time off requests, view their schedule, and verify their available accrual balance. At the end of the pay period, AsureForce Time provides for approvals by supervisors and then interfaces the attendance data to the payroll system.