Ways to Improve Work Performance in Healthcare

Healthcare systems in the United States rely on quality of care and patient outcomes to help meet their long-term goals. Measuring work performance and productivity is far more complex than task tracking. The way healthcare workers interact with patients is just as important as their ability to perform the administrative responsibilities that keep the organization moving efficiently.

Healthcare organizations must maintain the effectiveness of their performance management programs as the sector increasingly incentivizes health outcomes above treatment volume. The industry decision-makers can enhance work performance by concentrating on their strong and weak aspects in each area. The first step is improving employee engagement and internal communication, which will allow for the implementation of positive changes and modern technologies that streamline performance. 

What Affects Work Performance in Healthcare?

Working in a healthcare environment has unique stressors that put employees at elevated risk for burnout. Intensely stressful and emotional situations, along with long hours, unpredictable schedules, physical demands, risk of exposure to infectious diseases, and more can lead to anxiety, insomnia, and a decrease in job satisfaction and overall mental health. These are all issues that can affect work performance and the ability for medical professionals to provide high-quality care, resulting in a risk to patient safety.

A systematic approach to evaluating work performance includes : 

·       Task performance

·       Contextual performance

·       Counterproductive work behavior

Work performance in healthcare encompasses job obligations such as job skills, clinical competence, work quality (task performance), and those that lie outside of job titles (contextual performance). 

How can you address these specific issues to allow for improved work performance? The key might be to break it down into single challenges and determine what might improve efficiency. An excellent example of this is implementing automated systems, like the unit dose supply method, to help provide relief to overworked staff members. 

How to Improve Employee Engagement

Keeping employees engaged is a challenge that every business faces. Building a connection between team members, especially with healthcare workers, can be a powerful tool in improving job satisfaction, which leads to increased productivity. This enhances quality of care and patient outcomes within a healthcare system.

But, how do you increase employee engagement? There are a few steps you can take.

1. Improve internal communication

Effective communication is key for the success of any business. Numerous studies have noted the link between internal communication and having productive employees. Keeping your team members aware of critical information, news, and other happenings within company can increase productivity and morale.

2. Provide better opportunities for mentorship

A mentorship program is a fantastic way for senior employees to show their newer colleagues the ropes. Simply discussing different ways to go about completing daily tasks can help staff members gain the confidence to conduct their work.

3. Invest in your leadership team

The most obvious, but sometimes overlooked, solution for improving employee engagement is having healthcare leaders that empower and inspire their direct reports. Having a leader with poor people skills or is out of touch can create a negative, toxic workplace environment. A leader with effective communication skills who puts in the effort to include and empower their colleagues will see overall healthcare quality improvement.

4. Provide mental health resources

Stress is an issue medical professionals deal with on a regular basis. Investing in mental health programs shows employees that their well-being is also a top priority of their leadership team. Providing free counseling or assistance programs can help healthcare workers deal with the emotional and physical toll that comes with the long hours in high-pressure situations.

Improving employee engagement is an easy, efficient method for boosting work performance and productivity. An empowered, satisfied healthcare organization leads to better outcomes and greater patient care. 

How Automation and Medical Packaging Solutions Can Help Healthcare Facilities Provide High-Quality Care

Automation, electronic health records, and improvements in medical equipment and machinery can all help to relieve some of the stress from healthcare workers and provide a better patient experience. Utilization of the solutions allows more time for nurses, primary care physicians, pharmacists and additional staff to focus on the patient, instead of organizational tasks.

Medical Packaging Inc., LLC is a leading global manufacturer of pharmaceutical packaging and labeling systems that meet the needs of pharmacies, long-term care facilities, hospitals, and more. Our systems help increase efficiency throughout healthcare organizations and improve patient safety.

The Unit Dose Supply Method for Healthcare Improvement

A unit dose, also known as a single dose, is a drug that is packaged individually. Each package contains one dose of medication created by an automated packaging and dispensing system. This packing type makes it easier and safer to administer a required dose of medication to a patient. 

Over the past few decades, research on unit dosage medication delivery methods has shown that these systems are more efficient and a more effective way of employing professional resources when compared to alternative drug delivery techniques.

In fact, a 2013 study conducted at the Barzilai Medical Center found that implementing an individual unit dose system provided:

·       Shorter turnaround times between prescribing the drug and administering it

·       Increased pharmacist’s clinical interventions without adding staff

·       Decrease in costs and patient hospitalization times

Any medication not consumed by patients may be returned to a central storage system if the unit dose package was not opened and no sensitive patient data is included on the package. The major benefit is it decreases the risk of medication errors. 

How Administrators Can Use Single Doses to Improve Efficiency

 One of the many benefits of initiating a unit dose packaging system in a healthcare facility is saves time devoted to medication management. Implementing this system starts with identifying the medications that best fit into this process. 

1. Choosing the Right Medications to Package in the System

The unit dose method is best suited for medications in bulk packaging. However, most other types of medication packaging, such as suppositories, ampoules, transdermal patches, and pre-filled syringes, can be packaged into unit doses. After creating a unit medicine dosage, it may be ordered and delivered for safe medication administration.

The medication is not removed from the package until it reaches the patient, which is a significant advantage of unit doses. In addition, it means no cross-contamination with other drugs or human contact.

Unit dosages can also create a patient-specific therapy that combines multiple medications. Medication is transported to nursing stations in patient-specific treatment carriers. This method dramatically decreases the time nursing staff spends physically storing, organizing, and dispensing medicine. Furthermore, clear labeling of a drug name, dose, batch and expiration date increases safety, especially when dealing with high-risk medication.  The use of barcode technology and scanning procedures can also help with drug identification.

2. Determining the Type of Packaging Desired for Each Medication

After determining which medications are best suited for this dosage supply method and the ideal delivery method for each, the healthcare institution must decide on the appropriate equipment.

When defining equipment needs, for example packaging equipment for the different dosage forms of drugs, such as tablets, capsules, injectables, and liquids, factors to consider include:

·       Floor carts for direct distribution

·       Modular filling stations

·       Patient profile holders

Another critical decision is determining what items should be purchased in unit dose packages and what should be packaged in the pharmacy, and how that is accomplished. This will entail identifying the specific package requirements, what supplies the pharmacy needs and the amount required for each format.

The administration must assess the cost of the equipment and consumable supplies to determine the return on investment when budgeting for the unit dosage supply method. For example, how much would the hospital save by implementing this system?

Consider how the implementation of unit dose packaging would affect staff and patient care workflow. What effect will it have on various wards? For example, the impact will be different in pediatric wards than in areas of a hospital that deal with adult patients, such as acute care centers.

3. Creating Effective Training Strategies

When planning implementation, the administration must also consider training and how to conduct it in a way that does not interfere with patient care.

A few effective training methods include:

·       Rotating pharmacy staff to work on single dose dispensing once a week until everyone has completed the training procedure.

·       Educating the nurses using video presentations or live demonstrations of a new system

·       Distributing information on medication administration adjustments to general staff, such as a newsletter.

Training small groups at a time is the most effective way to avoid interruptions in patient care while still ensuring all employees understand the unit dose supply method.

4. Establishing An Internal Plan for All Unit Dose Packaged Medications

Beyond equipment, supplies, and training, the unit dosage supply system requires careful planning before implementation.  In addition, protocols for dose preparation need to follow safe medication practices and standards closely.

The healthcare institution will also need to have a storage system in place, whether in a bulk storage area or on a cart in the nursing unit.  There must also be plans for internal flow from patient admission to patient medication profile to packaging to filling drug delivery carts.

Common factors include:

·       Establishing the ward stock procedures 

·       Designing stock batch controls

·       Inventory management and monitoring

·       Determine how to manage unutilized medications

It may be necessary to modify existing procedures and integrate current technology to accommodate the new process of ordering and administering medication, along with how to achieve accurate dosing calculations and avoid medication errors.

Finding the Right Equipment and Supply Partners

The unit dose supply method improves the work performance of healthcare professionals. The key is collaborating with the right partners for equipment, supplies and support. Medical Packaging Inc., LLC (MPI) can assist you in achieving your medication management goals with unit dose packaging. 

MPI was established in 1971 and is now one of the world’s leading unit dose packaging and pharmaceutical equipment manufacturers. We take pride in producing high-quality pharmaceutical packaging equipment, MPI-certified consumables, and our own Pak-EDGETM UD Barcode Labeling Software. MPI strives to be the premier provider of pharmaceutical packaging solutions that save patients’ lives while increasing productivity and profitability for all clients.

Customer service and technical help is available to all clients in a timely, professional, and courteous manner. We build, maintain, and encourage long-term relationships with our customers, strategic partners, and distributors alike based on professionalism and passion. We assist customers when they are starting or expanding their unit dose packaging program with training, implementation, and technical support if needed. In addition, we are continually improving our pharmacy packaging technologies to ensure that we comply with industry regulations and regulatory requirements for unit dose pharmaceutical packaging. We also promote continual learning and development among all employees to ensure that we remain a market leader in our ever-changing industry.

MPI and the healthcare industry have a common goal – to improve work performance for medical professionals while enhancing the safety of patients.