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Staff Scheduling

December 31, 2009
by root
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When it comes to weighing in on which vendor to choose for hospital staffing solutions, nurses know best

KLAS says: Nursing professionals express the most extreme, and impactful opinions of all hospital departments involved in staff-scheduling systems. These opinions often conflict with those of other departments, making this choice far from simple: hospital CNOs call for usability and solid functionality, CIOs focus on integration and support, and CFOs look to improve the bottom line. However, satisfaction disparity makes vendor decisions difficult. McKesson is regarded favorably by nursing staffs, but more negatively by many in finance and HR. Conversely, Kronos receives positive reviews for their finance/HR functionality, but satisfaction for their nursing module is suffering. In the past three years, there has been a significant increase in the number of sites live with staff-scheduling, but staff-scheduling technology has still only penetrated 40 percent of the market; however, the pressure to adopt is mounting. The national economy, ever-slimming profit margins, and heavy labor costs are encouraging organizations to improve their use of resources through enhanced staff-scheduling automation.

Caught between these financial factors and the need to satisfy three hospital departments with conflicting needs, potential buyers are asking tough questions. Why are nursing directors and managers rating interfaced solutions such as AtStaff, McKesson, and RES-Q higher than integrated offerings from API and Kronos, especially considering the market focus on integrated workforce management solutions? Why have Kronos and API slipped down the rankings since the 2006 KLAS study, despite offering integrated solutions? KLAS interviewed 180 professionals from more than 150 healthcare organizations to answer these and other questions.


RES-Q Healthcare - RES-Q still has a small market footprint compared to the other vendors. However, from sales to service, they are winning over people from all three hospital departments, particularly nurses. More for RES-Q than the other vendors, the overall positive relationship creates a halo effect on other areas.

AtStaff - AtStaff demonstrated consistently good performance across all departments. While AtStaff does not appear to be working towards a full workforce management suite, they are focusing on nursing resource management and patient-centric care demands, as evidenced by their recently released Demand Manager. Given this focus, the flat response from nursing could be cause for some concern among providers

McKesson - Currently, nurses still love One-Staff while finance/HR struggles with its siloed nature. McKesson is still the market share leader by a large margin. They are filling out their workforce management offering, having recently purchased a time and attendance solution. There is also potential for an interface with Horizon's Human Resource Manager and Business Insight, although the efficacy of such interfacing remains to be seen.

API Healthcare - API's scores held fairly stable from 2006 to 2007, but they have since slipped. When first introduced, ActiveStaffer promised integration with Payrollmation and better labor management. Since that time, slipping support, weaker-than-anticipated functionality, and dual platforms have occasionally produced harsh criticism from IT. The IT departments, rather than the nursing departments, most heavily influenced API's scoring, upending the overall trend.

Kronos - Kronos markets their product as part of a workforce management suite, growing out of the company's time and attendance roots. Like API, Kronos offers a full suite, including analytics, to CFOs as a way to manage labor costs from end to end. It appears that nurses were forgotten in this strategy, and they accordingly expressed their sometimes acute dissatisfaction.

Healthcare Informatics 2010 January;27(1):12