A successful organization is a productive one, but a lot can stand in your way. Here’s how to get around the barriers to create a more efficient working environment.
A successful organization is a productive one. But a creating a productive staff-or even leaving room for yourself to be productive-can be a challenge. From physical barriers like office setups to digital barriers like IT woes to culture barriers like a bad work environment, maximizing productivity isn’t easy.
We spoke with experts about how 10 ways they think health execs can improve productivity at their organizations. From consumer-grade processes to stress management, here’s how you can improve your organization’s effectiveness.
1. Put providers first, productivity will follow
“Provider job satisfaction is an important productivity measure and contributes to better health outcomes for patients. Achieving high provider job satisfaction comes from listening to providers’ feedback, having an EMR that supports their workflows, longer appointment times to see their patients, and no non-competes. These provider-friendly initiatives result in lower turnover and healthier patients-a win for the providers and a win for the patients.”
- Michael Huang, MD, national medical director, Marathon Health, a national leader in worksite health centers
2. Become leaner across the supply chain
“Pharmaceutical companies should work on determining areas across the corporation where they can decrease costs and improve efficiencies. For example, they can perform an audit on their supply chain and see where their operations can become more digital or nimble. This will not only help decrease costs but will also allow the company to respond to change faster.”
- Ed Francis, senior director, West Monroe Partners, a business/technology consulting firm
3. Set clear goals
“In order to be productive, members of your organization need both a short- and long-term vision. Create milestones so they can visualize how they’ll turn these goals into reality. Set both qualitative and quantitative measures to track success. Then have regular check-ins at both the executive and staff levels to review progress, celebrate success, and invite further input on strategies to enhance outcomes.”
- Jose Rivero, CEO, HealthComp, a health benefits administrator for employers, plan members, and brokers
4. Leverage data and technology resources
“To maximize productivity, my teams look for opportunities to leverage data and technology resources to collaborate, streamline information and help inform decisions … We try to ensure we provide easy access to relevant data and dashboards to save time and drive consistency. Additionally, we have found that initial training is critical to optimizing productivity across the board. Whether it be onboarding a new employee or a new customer using your platform, taking the time to ensure individuals are well-versed on protocols and the use of new technologies can help avoid confusion and improve productivity down the line.”
-Florian Otto, MD, PhD, co-founder and CEO of Cedar, a patient payment and engagement platform
5. Aim for consumer-grade
“Managed care companies have not historically focused as much on end users as on corporate clients for good reason-consumers haven’t been direct customers. But as consumers bear a greater share of healthcare costs, they will increasingly exert purchasing power and expect their healthcare interactions to work like everything else does. Consumer-grade tools and technology should be simple, efficient, and effective. Policies and procedures should be fair, logical, and clear. Following these principles will force internal transformation ... The benefits will improve consumer trust and loyalty, and also inspire internal efficiency and productivity.”
-Deb Gordon, senior fellow, Harvard Kennedy School Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government
6. Live for your customers
“Put your customers’ needs and priorities at the heart of your agenda. Beyond the clichÃ© about customers being king, staying close to those needs will help you focus on what matters, avoid stagnation as customer needs evolve over time, and make it easier to say no to lower-value initiatives. Use a clear, crisp, customer-centric agenda to guide prioritization, and let go of efforts that don’t directly serve customer interests or move you toward serving customers better.”
7. Have the right productivity tools
“Finding tools that enable your staff of physicians to spend more time actually practicing medicine is the best way to increase organizational productivity … For example, Doximity helps physicians connect with other physicians and even patients securely through their mobile phones. Another great tool is Suki, an AI-powered, voice-enabled scribe. Suki can save providers time by capturing detailed notes on a patient's visit. When tools like these are implemented across a healthcare organization, the impact in time saved and increased productivity amongst healthcare professionals can be significant."
- Amit Phull, MD, VP of strategy & insights at Doximity, the largest professional medical network
8. Manage stress
“Sixty-four percent of employees say they feel stressed at work, according to Welltok’s Wellbeing Wake-up Report (2019).
“More than one-third of all working Americans say that they have seriously considered changing their work situation due to stress. Even though 65% of employed Americans say they believe companies should be responsible for helping their employees manage or reduce workplace stress, only 33% believe that their employer offers [tools to reduce stress]. This demonstrates an opportunity for companies to help employees. That could be in the form of offering resilience training programs, encouraging stretch breaks, or flexible work schedules.”
- Scott Rotermund, co-founder and chief growth officer at Welltok, a consumer SaaS company located in Denver
9. Drive efficiency with new technology
“Managers need to think about innovative ways to remove barriers to productivity. New technologies to increase agility in the workflow can help in this regard. For example, single sign-on across several related healthcare IT systems is already helping clinicians work more efficiently.
“AI in healthcare … is automating and accelerating costly and time-consuming data mapping projects to link systems. Nurses are using voice-based systems not only to reach large patient populations for screening reminders but also to follow up on patients recovering at home. Patients flagged as at risk can be escalated for the one-on-one care they need.”
-Diana Nole, CEO of Wolters Kluwer, Health, a global provider of health information and technology
10. Introduce new ways of thinking
“Sometimes, ingrained processes fail to keep up with shifting objectives, impacting productivity. By encouraging colleagues to bring fresh ideas to the table, executives foster openness to new initiatives while targeting outdated or ineffective processes. By easing frustrations that can hinder a person’s ability to produce good, solid work, work satisfaction and productivity can significantly increase.
“Also, by really listening and getting to know the team, executives can encourage people to come up with these new ideas themselves. Encouraging staff to think more independently can in turn help to relieve some stress for managers, helping them focus on the tasks at hand. A less stressed executive is a productive one!”