What if we could plan our workforce based on what we need, rather than what we have?

What if we could plan our workforce based on what we need, rather than what we have?

Demand-Driven Staffing: the 4th of 5 ‘Outcomes-Based Staffing’ principles

Organisations can ensure workforce planning is compliant and safe, whilst truly reflecting demand. 

As anyone who works in the NHS will know, workforce planning is a constant battle between supply and demand. But currently, it’s a reactive process, with employers forced to work with what they have. We want to change that. Instead of fire-fighting and retro-fitting clinicians into rigidly designed rota patterns, what if health and care employers could compliantly create rosters based on what they need, rather than what they have?

This is what we’re introducing through our new commitment to ‘Outcomes-Based Staffing’. The ability to make workforce planning truly demand-driven is one of the 5 core principles of this paradigm-shifting approach. 

Through Patchwork’s solutions, we’re able to break the cycle that forces health and care teams to fit square pegs into round holes. With truly demand-driven rota design, powered by our unique algorithm, employers can assess which clinicians and skills they require and adjust their systems and planning accordingly. Through this, they can keep up with the ever-shifting needs of workforce demand. 

What does this mean, and how does it work in practice?

The current status quo of employers having to create rotas based on the resources they have rather than the resources they need is evident in all staff groups, particularly in medical rostering. For example, we often see junior doctors given an identical working pattern of 3 day shifts, 4 nights, and 2 rests. Although equitable, compliant and fair, this doesn’t always mirror true demand, nor does it provide any flexibility for the clinician or the employer.

To break this cycle, we’re making it possible to offer demand-driven workforce planning design for all staff groups. Crucially, this doesn’t compromise on equity, fairness or compliance with contractual rules. To make this a reality, Patchwork has created an innovative, compliant and easy to use algorithmic rostering tool, which automatically matches the right number of people and relevant skills required to demand. 

For example, when planning for a surgical procedure, the algorithm would automatically and compliantly create a rota to factor in having two surgeons, one anaesthetist, two theatre nurses, etc., rostered for the appropriate day according to a demand pattern. 

With these tools, employers can plan their workforce more efficiently to meet variability in demand and ensure utmost patient safety at all times, as well as give clinicians greater flexibility in a structured and safe way to improve wellbeing and retention.  

Our model unlocks the ability to move away from rigid workforce planning which creates more problems than it solves. Through Patchwork’s workforce solutions, employers can head off problems before they arise, pool staff in line with demand, reduce wasted hours when it’s quiet, and allow for greater flexibility without compromising on workforce planning or compliance. Ultimately, it will create better outcomes for patients, workers and employers. 

Everyone working in health and social care wants the same thing; to offer the best possible care to patients. Through demand-driven rotas and rostering, alongside a wider commitment to Outcomes-Based Staffing, we can give teams and employers the tools they need to make this easy, scalable and affordable.

You can read about 'Outcomes-Based Staffing,' the paradigm shift set to transform healthcare staffing, here.

To apply to join the Patchwork Rostering Accelerator and help shape the future of healthcare, please get in touch at hello@patchwork.health.

Participating NHS Trusts are eligible for access to Patchwork’s rostering solution on attractive commercial terms, including free use periods and waiving all implementation fees.

Dr Anas Nader
written by:

Dr Anas Nader