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James Mitchell| Crain’s Custom Media

Health care officials and hiring managers are relying on industry statistics as the driving force behind staffing decisions.

“We use data analytics to project what the future demand is going to be,” said Linda Kruso, director of workforce planning for Beaumont Health Systems. “We’re looking at the service lines to anticipate growth, the need for staff and how that impacts our future demand for talent.”

Based on past trends, for example, Kruso said that Beaumont anticipates between 80 and 90 nurses will soon retire. When compared against current hiring trends and prospective nurses-in-training, it likely will be a struggle to fill all of those positions. Kruso said the data analysis prompted questions to be addressed sooner rather than later.

“How are we going to develop or replace that talent? What is the historical experience, and what do we need to do to handle the turnover?” Kruso said that Beaumont – which last year merged with Botsford Health Care and Oakwood Health Care Inc. – recognized the need to pool statistical resources to address and determine growth areas in both human resources and health care in general. Care providers will need to be as fluent in data analysis as they are medical practices.

“Data informatics,” Kruso said, has been defined as “data nursing,” putting evidence-based medicine to work. “We have a lot of information in the system, and the goal is to use it to see what the best practices are that can drive quality and safety for patients.”

At Henry Ford Health Systems, Director of Clinical Analytics Jack Jordan said that treatment records are routinely analyzed to better streamline patient care.

“We enforce a very consistent process so we can see when we’re following protocols and when we’re not,” said Jordan. “Our focus on quality is moving to a high reliability on using analytics.”

Ajay Parikh, director of talent selection at Henry Ford, said that “data mining” has changed the way the industry views its hiring practices. The anticipated shortage of nurses, he said, is understood in far better detail through analytic study.

“Data mining lets us identify where and why this is happening,” Parikh said. “That’s where the line for data is becoming huge, and people are more often relying on analytics for training plans or reorganization.”

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