5 minute read. Last updated April 2, 2020

U.S. healthcare professionals are demonstrating once again that they are true heroes.

Well-designed technology is important in all aspects of healthcare from patient care to research and administration.

Let’s look at the importance of mobile healthcare workforce management solutions.

Healthcare organizations should use a Human Resources Management System (HRMS) with mobile tools:

  1. Lower administrative costs
  2. Improve patient care
  3. Increase employee satisfaction
  4. Track hours for EPSLA tax credits and small business coronavirus relief

Why Workforce Management is Critical: A Summary of 4 Key Findings

1. Unemployment in the healthcare sector was 2.1% December 2019. Last month, there were 1,117,000 job openings in the healthcare industry. (Bureau of Labor Statistics)

2. Healthcare is the fastest growing industry: employment in healthcare occupations is projected to grow 14% from 2018 to 2028, adding about 1.9 million new jobs. (Bureau of Labor Statistics)

3. The DOL continues to penalize home care agencies for minimum wage and overtime pay violations. A Virginia-based home health business, for example, agreed to pay $1.2 million for failing to pay overtime to workers from 2015-2017. (Home Health Care News)

4. Registered nurses, the occupation with the third highest job growth from 2018-2028, are projected to grow from 3,059,800 to 3,431,300, an increase of 371,500 new jobs. (AMN Healthcare)

What California’s AB 5 Means for Home Health Companies

AB 5 took effect January 1, 2020. Under the law, all workers are defined as “employees” in California.

AB 5’s three part test, called the ABC Test, uses these standards. All must be applicable to classify a worker as an independent contractor. (At Home Nursing Care)

The worker must be:

  1. Free from the control and direction of the hiring entity,
  2. Performing work that is outside the usual course of the hiring entity’s business,
  3. The person is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation or business.

What’s New In Mobile Workforce Management?

If you own a home healthcare business and have not explored the latest HRMS mobile tools, keep reading. New mobile time clocks ensure timekeeping accuracy wherever your employees are throughout the day or night.

Geofencing restricts out of area punches. Schedule enforcement restricts out-of-schedule punches.

Your supervisors will appreciate how easy it is to see what’s going on with everyone in their department. They can be set up quickly and are surprisingly affordable.

Mobile Tools for Home Health Aides

When your workers are mobile, ordinary employee timekeeping and scheduling tasks are more complex. It’s hard enough to track rotating nurse schedules in a busy LTC facility. When employees are spread across town, you need convenient mobile apps.

A home healthcare worker wakes up and hits the ground running. They check their patient roster and medication chart. “Do I have the necessary supplies for Mrs. Parker’s post-surgical needs?”  “Is Mr. Jones still on the route, or was he transferred to residential care?”

They may battle commuter traffic to get to their first appointment. When the aide arrives, he or she helps the patient get bathed and dressed, which often requires heavy lifting. The caregiver then takes the patient’s blood pressure and other vital signs, administers meds, makes breakfast, and does some housekeeping.

A Difficult Job Requires an Easy Mobile App

Keep in mind that many patients are dealing with chronic pain, restricted mobility, and the limitations of aging, so it’s understandable that they are not always happy campers. (Who can blame them?) Working as a home health aide can be rewarding. But it’s definitely not easy to care for people with physical, mental, and emotional challenges.

The last thing a mobile worker needs to deal with is difficulty logging work hours, uncertainty about scheduling, or time card hassles. Burnout due to excessive overtime is common in the industry and, like many healthcare employees who work long hours; they live for their vacations. (“I better not get shorted on my PTO!”)

GPS Tracking is a Supervisor’s Best Friend

Being a supervisor is not a walk in the park, either. What if an aide wakes up with the flu when two others are on vacation? The sick one certainly can’t risk transmitting their illness to a patient whose immune system is already compromised. How can the supervisor quickly find a replacement so that all patients are visited on schedule?

HRMS scheduling tools help you manage large teams efficiently. Patients receive the care they deserve. Effective management is also key for controlling labor expenses.

Scheduling Mobile Workers

If you are responsible for scheduling, you know it can be pretty tricky. You have to take into account, oh, maybe a hundred variables. (I may be exaggerating, but it seems like it.) When creating schedules, you have to keep track of your employee’s certifications, patient visit durations, adequate shift coverage, patient status, travel time, and route details.

Scheduling impacts patient outcomes, profitability, employee satisfaction, and compliance.

  • Mobile time clock apps capture hours and automatically tracks accruals
  • Mobile employees can punch in from their smartphone or the tablet they are already using to record patient data
  • GPS tracking records location of clock in/out
  • Geofencing restricts out-of-area punches
  • Aides can check schedules, request shift trades, receive automatic schedule updates and company announcements, approve time cards, and monitor accruals from any mobile device, any time of day
  • Supervisors have real-time, location-specific oversight with pinpoint GPS
  • Supervisors can create schedules in minutes using job codes, patient and employee locations, and hours thresholds to ensure efficiency and compliance

This user sums it up succinctly:

“By far, the biggest benefit of using TimeWorksPlus and TimeSimplicity is having visibility to ensure we have the right people, in the right places, at the right times to provide the best care possible.”

Breathe Easier Knowing You Are Protected

The healthcare industry has been under increased FLSA scrutiny in the past few years. Wise owners review their policies regularly

Pay special attention to minimum wage laws, employee classification, proper payment of overtime, Payroll Based Journal (for LTC), and ACA employee hours regulations. You may also live in a state that has added new Family Leave or predictive scheduling laws.

Did you know that employees can download a free time tracking app from the DOL website and log time? If an employee thinks they are being treated unfairly, he or she can request a DOL investigation.

Would your time and attendance records stand up to an audit?

By Liz Strikwerda

Liz Strikwerda