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Newsletters

August 16, 2011

5 Measures of Success for Support Departments

The Radiology/Medical Imaging, Laboratory, and Rehabilitation Service departments support many patient care areas of the hospital.  Timely and efficient use of limited capital equipment and staffing resources is necessary to ensure this support for continued patient flow success. 

In this edition of Off the Shelf we offer ways to effectively assess your support departments as their operations play a pivotal role of a well-run hospital.  

We've pulled together a quick checklist to help you with this evaluation:

Are department leaders measuring the effectiveness of their staff?
Is the department responding to and overcoming challenges?
Is the department appropriately scheduling staff to meet hospital needs?
Is the department aware of management expectations?
Is the department creating satisfied "customers"?

1. Are department leaders measuring the effectiveness of their staff?

To measure the effectiveness of staff, department leadership must utilize their knowledge of benchmarking characteristics.  Each support department has unique workload attributes that flex based on inpatient or outpatient activity.  Recognition and knowledge of this workload and ability to adjust staffing based on changes in workload are characteristics of a thriving support department.

2. Is the department responding to and overcoming challenges?

It is important that the department be able to overcome obstacles and create work-arounds while at the same time, continuing to yield good results.  More often than not, support departments are rarely found at the top of the list for updates, expansions, and new equipment which is why their ability to work with older equipment and space constraints, while still producing high-quality results, is a good indicator that the department is being managed effectively.  Review real results from Soyring's Laboratory Case Study.

3. Is the department appropriately scheduling staff to meet hospital needs?

Oftentimes, hospitals struggle to provide coverage and resort to costly callback offers.  Support departments, such as Radiology, offer valuable services outside of regular work hours.  To best improve the position of support departments, you should:

  • Evaluate the need of your department to provide services outside of regular work hours
  • Assess the hours and days to provide such services
  • Determine the cost of providing those services
4. Is the department aware of management expectations?

Unwavering support from management is a must for any successful initiative.  Support department management should have a clear communication plan for the multitude of standards employees must adhere to.  This communication about standards helps pinpoint any areas where you may be out of compliance.  Building department-wide awareness of the professional organizations, certifications, and standards that affect regulations, protocols, and reporting of outcomes is a way to ensure compliance and identify any safety issues.

5. Is the department creating satisfied “customers”?

Perhaps the most important measure of success for a support department is the satisfaction of the clinical departments, or "customers," they serve.  Support department leadership and staff should build strong relationships with clinical departments by consistently meeting with clinical leadership and surveying clinical department satisfaction and outcomes.  When such a relationship exists, problems can be identified, addressed, and solved quickly.  Ultimately, these strong working relationships result in meeting not only the departments', but the patients' needs efficiently and effectively.

Are you doing all of these things and still unsure of where your department stands?  We can help analyze issues and recommend needed improvements to ensure a smooth, functioning department.

Soyring's Solution

Know you have a problems in your department, but not sure where to start? Contact Us.

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