Monday, April 15, 2024

How Nebraska Medicine used AI to reduce first-year nurse turnover by nearly 50%

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According to the National Library of Medicine, nearly 18% of new nurses leave their job within the first year.

THE PROBLEM

Nebraska Medicine is an academic health system that strives to provide the best experience to the people who choose to work for it, looking to be a premier employer providing high-quality care to the patients it serves in Omaha and beyond.

Like so many health systems across the country, it has been facing challenges around retaining its frontline teams, particularly its first-year nursing staff.

“Our frontline leaders and their teams were under pressure and stretched thin, and we were seeing elevated employee burnout,” said Kelly Vaughn, vice president of operations at Nebraska Medicine. “We were looking for ways to alleviate strain on our frontline leaders while elevating frontline employee engagement and retention – with the ultimate goals of stabilizing our frontline workforce and reinforcing our employer brand.”

PROPOSAL

One of Nebraska Medicine’s key efforts was looking at ways to bolster support for its frontline leaders, helping amplify their impact amid challenging bandwidth limitations. The health system knew it not only needed to find new approaches to cut down administrative burdens for these leaders, but also help them engage more regularly and meaningfully with their teams.

“By better supporting our frontline leaders, we would be putting them in a better position to support their teams,” Vaughn explained. “We wanted to use technology to help streamline our leaders’ work, but we didn’t have anything in place that already fit the bill or could be repurposed to achieve our goals.

“The Laudio platform offered the ability to aggregate key employee data into a single source, automate mundane tasks, prioritize leader actions with their teams, and standardize leader best practices,” she continued. “It was designed for the needs of frontline leaders and sits on top of other systems, using automation and artificial intelligence to make leaders’ work easier and help them engage more with their teams.”

The health system knew it could not just add more to its frontline leaders’ plates. It saw in this vendor platform a technology that potentially could make these leader best practices faster and more feasible.

MEETING THE CHALLENGE

The platform is web-based, which made for a straightforward implementation.

“Within weeks, we had frontline leaders up and running on it, overseeing more than 5,000 frontline team members with it,” Vaughn noted. “The leaders quickly realized the benefits of having this centralized platform for their key workflows and AI-based recommendations helping them take advantage of impactful opportunities to connect with their team members.

“Frontline leaders were able to access key data about their teams in one place for the first time, dramatically simplifying their workflows and improving visibility into their teams,” she added. “The system pulls in data from core HRIS, time and attendance, scheduling, and other systems, so now instead of spending time searching for and cobbling together information, leaders have a one-stop shop.”

Nebraska Medicine now has a way to not just show information but also make it actionable for its leaders.

“The AI-based recommendations and built-in workflows make it quick and simple for our leaders to identify and then act on interaction opportunities with their team members – celebrating milestones, showing appreciation for going above and beyond, checking in regularly, etc.,” Vaughn explained. “Because the system displays these opportunities to our leaders, they don’t have to try to stay on top of them manually or in a bunch of different places.

“It makes the small yet hugely impactful leadership acts so much more feasible for our leaders,” she continued. “In addition, the system also flags potential issues or trends that could indicate potential burnout or lack of engagement, helping leaders intervene early when necessary to get out in front of potential turnover.”

RESULTS

Nebraska Medicine saw hard results in two areas with this new AI-based platform – elevated leader-team interactions and reduction in first-year nurse turnover.

“Frontline leaders quickly embraced the Laudio platform,” Vaughn reported. “Since we’ve been live on it, our leaders have had more than 27,000 personalized, timely interactions with their team members leveraging the AI-based recommendations.

“Not only has this increased the frequency of frontline leader-team member interactions, but it also has enabled leaders to have more tailored, meaningful engagement with their teams,” she added.

Most important, though, through the work the health system has done to empower its frontline leaders and enhance their engagement with their teams, it has achieved a nearly 50% reduction in turnover of first-year nurses.

“This is based on comparing our first six months on the platform versus the same period in the prior year,” Vaughn explained. “It is a huge accomplishment for our health system and reflects our commitment to both our leaders and our broader frontline teams, ultimately putting us in a better position to attract and retain the talent that is so critical to our ability to serve our patients.”

ADVICE FOR OTHERS

When considering this type of technology, it’s important to have a thorough understanding of one’s frontline leaders’ workflows today and where the sources of inefficiency are, Vaughn advised.

“There are a lot of point solutions out there, and adding just another place for leaders to login won’t solve some of the core issues that stem from siloed data and systems,” she said. “Evaluate the scope of the technology and how it’s truly going to streamline leaders’ work and augment existing solutions. Integrations are key here, too.

“Also, ensure the system is facilitating action, not just showing data,” she continued. “It was a top priority for us to find actionable technology that would include AI and integrated workflows to measurably reduce the strain on our leaders, allowing them to both access data more efficiently and then act on it.”

The health system also wanted to not only simplify the existing work frontline leaders were doing but enable them to follow leadership best practices more easily and regularly, she added.

“Finally, pay close attention to whether systems you’re considering were designed with strong knowledge of frontline leaders and their unique needs in mind or if they are more general systems being adapted for frontline leaders’ use,” she concluded. “In our search, we looked for a purpose-built platform that had a demonstrated impact on key outcomes at other health systems.”

Follow Bill’s HIT coverage on LinkedIn: Bill Siwicki

Email him: bsiwicki@himss.org

Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS Media publication.

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