Fighting Lower Productivity with More Efficiency
Since the beginning of the pandemic and the labor shortage, clinics across the nation have been battling lower productivity levels. Few workers are available to fill needed positions, and clinics are starting to feel the pressure. Many have discovered the best way to fight lower productivity is with more efficiency.
What has Decreased Productivity?
During a year like 2021, countless factors impact the productivity of clinics. According to an article published by Veterinary Practice News, one of the most detrimental factors impacting clinics is the shift in protocols. Clinics are having to change the ways they do everyday tasks, which decreases productivity throughout the entirety of the clinic. Thus resulting in fewer patients being seen each day and appointments taking longer to complete. Many clinics are also feeling the pressure of having less staff available to assist with routine check-ups and emergencies.
Beyond the shift in protocols and staff shortages, many clinics are also experiencing financial pressure. Decisions surrounding what to invest in cause additional stress to practice managers and staff. The costs of new technology continue to rise. Many clinics also do not have the time to sort through technology options to find the best deal. When money is tight, how do you decide which piece of technology will help your clinic? Do you choose to invest in technology or invest more in employee benefits? Making a financial decision for the clinic or hospital can be difficult, especially in times like these.
The third factor leading to the decrease in productivity among clinics is the increase in burnout among veterinary clinic staff. The rise in stress among pandemic veterinarians has led to increased levels of burnout among many clinics. Employees feel overworked and overwhelmed by the long shifts and decreased available staff.
Why More Efficiency Helps
One of the best ways to counteract it is by increasing efficiency when productivity is down. Efficiency refers to the ratio of work performed compared to the amount of energy or resources used to accomplish it. In other words, how can we make the most out of the time and resources that we have available?
While productivity and efficiency seem very similar, they are slightly different. Productivity refers to the rate of production or how much you can accomplish. Efficiency is how much you can accomplish using a specific amount of time, energy, and resources. If a clinic is efficient, they can accomplish tasks promptly and utilize their resources in the best possible way, including staff. By increasing the efficiency of the clinic, the clinic becomes more productive.
Ways to Increase Efficiency
How you increase efficiency will look different for every clinic. It may depend on the size of the clinic, staff availability, access to resources, and the ability to implement new programs. The first question to consider is: Where is our clinic struggling the most? Is there a specific area that your clinic has been falling short in? If so, direct your attention to that area and find a solution that benefits all employees and staff.
Since many of the new protocols that clinics face cannot be changed, improving efficiency becomes more directly focused on staff and available technology. Ensuring that staff is fully trained and prepared for their work is crucial to success. As new staff joins the team, provide them adequate training before working independently. Not only will staff feel more confident with the job that they are doing, but they will also be more prepared to handle problems that arise. It is also important to provide staff with incentives, rewards, and breaks to help boost morale. Employees who feel valued and appreciated at work are more likely to be efficient and more productive.
Even though technology can be one of the factors decreasing productivity, it is one of the best ways to increase efficiency. Technology boosts efficiency by providing staff with the ability to accomplish more tasks in a short period of time. Like the MeasureON! Smart Harness, monitoring technology allows technicians to focus on other tasks while the device monitors critical patients’ vitals. This makes staff and the clinic as a whole more efficient. While finding new technology can be stressful, it is the best way to increase efficiency in the clinic or hospital.
We cannot deny that the past couple of years have been difficult. With a rise in stress levels and changes in protocols, many clinics have had difficulty meeting the demands of patients and experienced a decrease in productivity. The best way to counter this decrease in productivity is to increase efficiency by providing extra training to staff, rewarding the work of all employees, and updating technology.