Workload Management

Had a very interesting discussion here on day #2 of the SHM Leadership Academy.  I was speaking with a potential client of our ASSIGNCARE product suite, and to continue the theme from yesterday, we were discussing workload management.

About a year or so ago, I heard Dr John Nelson give a talk about workload, and one of his (excellent) points was that there was no real reason why every hospitalist should be required to have the same workload.  Each of us have different tolerances for workload, different ideal speeds of work, and different needs for compensation.  Why not let each hospitalist titrate their workload to meet their individual needs.  This made a lot of sense to me, but I had yet to meet anyone actually putting this into practice.

Today, I met someone doing this for the first time.  They give their docs the option to set their own workload, and then commit to giving them that number of patients with a bit of wiggle room based on census.  Different providers can choose different numbers, and then they are compensated appropriately based on the work that they do.  One of their difficulties lies in making sure the correct providers get the correct number of patients, and that is where ASSIGNCARE can help.  By automating the patient assignment process, we can ensure that each provider gets the correct number of patients and provide the data to track these workloads.

I’m glad to see someone doing this and can’t wait to see their long-term results.  If I were a betting man, I’d put some money on improved provider satisfaction and retention.  One of the best ways to decrease stress and burnout is to increase control over your environment.  By giving these providers a measure of control over their workload, they should end up with happier and less burnt out providers.  This is a win for everyone.