The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2004 OPEN FORUM Abstracts


-Mark D. Babic RRT, Lutheran Hospital, Cleveland, Ohio.

BACKGROUND: Managing department productivity and, daily staffing needs can be difficult without the assistance of a computer program. Using a spreadsheet with the proper formulas, one can calculate both productivity and staffing needs on a shift-by-shift basis.

METHOD: First the AARC guidelines were used to determine the recommended time to complete various therapies. For example: one aerosol treatment should take 20 minutes to both administer and document. Therefore, a patient receiving aerosol treatments every 4 hours would generate 120 minutes (in a 24 hour period) of therapy time. After determining the number of minutes required for all therapies, individual patients receiving Respiratory Care were entered onto a spreadsheet. The number of minutes needed to provide therapy was converted to points at a 1:1 ratio. With a simple addition formula added to the spreadsheet, the points were automatically totaled when entered. Thirty seven percent of the total daily points were allocated to the day shift workload, 35% to evening shift and 28% to night shift. Another formula was added to the spreadsheet to divide the point totals by 60, thus converting them into hours. Then additional time was estimated to account for new admissions and emergency room patients. These extra hours were classified as unknown treatment times and added to each shifts’ total hours. The total hours for each shift determine the appropriate number of therapists needed based on the current productivity. RESULTS: With the use of this program the department was able to track productivity and, appropriate staffing needs on a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly basis. Our results were then compared with the hospital’s actual productivity report. The department’s productivity report was within ±1-2% of the actual productivity report.

EXPERIENCE: Minor adjustments were made in the summer months due to a decrease in the number of respiratory patients seen in the emergency room. It was also determined that an increase in the number of missed therapies had a negative effect on the accuracy of productivity. CONCLUSION: Before this program was implemented, the department was running at 122% productivity and now is at 105% productivity. The data from this program also justified the hiring of one full time employee. For a small Respiratory department this has been a cost effective method for determining productivity and staffing as compared to the more expensive programs used by larger hospitals.