System Thinking Methodology™

Our award-winning, proven, “System Thinking Methodology” improves clinical operations by reducing the impact of activity fluctuations while protecting staffing plans, clinical aggregation and workloads. SDM 20/20 employs two strategies that together allow an organization to operate in a steady, non-crisis mode that is extremely effective and efficient. We employ a “90% planning” mode, meaning, 90% of our effort is designed to analyze your situation and create a custom plan that will cover nearly all of the situations you face on a daily, and hourly, basis. This advanced planning represents a dramatic shift from current daily crisis operations which are really about 10% planning.

The two strategies that represent the backbone of SDM 20/20 are:

1. Economic-Sizing

Determining your staffing needs based on average daily census (ADC) cannot work — ever. That’s because every healthcare organization is different in terms of the services they provide, the flow of patients they serve, and the daily schedule that results when the scheduling of services gets combined with the flow of patients. If an organization works off of basic averages, they will be terribly understaffed during high activity periods, and terribly overstaffed during low activity periods. Our experience proves that it just makes sense to analyze the pattern your organization experiences, and create a plan to work with that pattern.

Economic-Sizing allows hospitals to run with complete care teams. These care teams are identified by your nurse leaders, not a “benchmark,” so you can be sure you’re employing the right staff for the services and patients you expect. From the admission process, patients are placed on units that have the clinical expertise to care for the patient. The placement process realigns admission and discharges to happen at a consistent level. This avoids units being “slammed” with admits and it encourages the decompression of emergency department admissions. Units experience a high level of productivity, and your staff can have more confidence in the schedules you provide.

2. TQS

Top Quartile Scheduling ensures that unit-based schedules are well prepared to care for patients. Well prepared means that schedules are “hard wired” to incorporate both the daily staff demands plus the staff necessary to provide for orientation, education, LOAs, absenteeism and sitter demands. This strategy allows units to run well prepared, at straight pay and with the appropriate mix of full-time and part-time staff. Human resources is able to employ the “90% planning” strategy to rapidly address vacancies.