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After a pause, the workload intensity forecaster returns

COVID crisis staffing put the project on hold; now the task force is back to refining the tool.

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In October 2020 nursing embarked on transforming how assignments are made across Asante. While countless hours went into preparation for this project, including frontline nurses from all service lines, we expected changes would need to be made after go-live.

A systemwide Epic Workload Intensity Forecaster Taskforce (EWIF Taskforce) was created to champion improvements and guide necessary changes based on feedback from nurses using the system.

During the summer and fall of 2021, disaster charting was implemented as Asante experienced an unprecedented surge in COVID patients. Since the majority of Workload Intensity values are calculated directly from charting, the EWIF Taskforce paused before moving to the next phase of the project. We must be mindful that when disaster charting is in place the EWIF scores become less accurate. The EWIF Taskforce has now resumed meeting and will be revitalizing the efforts around improving the ease of use and functionality of the EWIF system.

Currently, everyone is experiencing the effects of insufficient staffing levels, and many are asking how we can move beyond staffing by the number of patients on a unit. EWIF is a critical component in closing the gap between objective and subjective staffing needs.

Staff engagement with EWIF, by using the system each shift and giving input on how to improve scoring, is the most impactful way to participate in improving nurse staffing. All input and feedback sent to [email protected] is reviewed by the EWIF Taskforce, and changes are implemented with a quick turnaround time. We encourage nurses to use this communication channel as often as needed.

In the coming months the EWIF Taskforce will focus on improving workflow efficiencies for the end user and re-educating nursing across Asante.

In a recent example of the EWIF taskforce working to improve efficiencies, the team decided that rather than duplicating work in Epic and Kronos Extensions, charge nurses should only use Epic for creating assignments and referencing patient acuity and workload intensity.

The biggest concern with this decision is the inability to override scores in EWIF; however, as we receive feedback on how to improve the scoring system, overrides will not be necessary over time. The EWIF Taskforce will provide additional education over the next few months, to ensure all nursing staff are using the system efficiently and to its fullest potential.

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