National evaluation helps to create a blueprint for cloud-based healthcare e-rostering

An independent study commissioned by the Irish health service, evaluating a new technology solution for Ireland’s nursing and midwifery services, will assist in creating a blueprint for implementing healthcare e-rostering. The HSE’s Nursing and Midwifery Planning and Development Unit has published the findings of the study into the effectiveness of the country’s first cloud-based healthcare e-rostering system from Allocate which has demonstrated significant improvements in efficiencies.  Letterkenny University Hospital (LUH) which was selected as the first Irish pilot site, has removed 120 hours a month in the administrative time spent on staff rostering, an exercise that had been taking senior nurses between 5-6 hours per day.

The system was first piloted at LUH in 2015 and has now been implemented across the whole organisation and has resulted in up to 60% time saving in admin intensive shift booking. The final phase sees additional interoperability introduced with Allocate’s e-rostering solution integrating with the bi-directional payroll system, part of the hospital’s own HR software from SAP. This means that staff pay can be calculated automatically in line with its e-rostering schedule.

LUH was selected as the first Irish pilot site for the implementation of the e-rostering programme following the Irish Department of Health’s introduction of its eHealth Ireland Strategy which outlines its digital infrastructure vision for the healthcare system. Following a rigorous tendering process, Allocate’s cloud-based software was chosen as the preferred solution for LUH. The e-rostering implementation consisted of five work packages; HealthRoster, Bank Module, Roster Perform, SafeCare Module and Interface project.

The new system now delivers transparency across all rostered shift patterns for the 900 staff across the site. It ensures the correct staffing levels are delivered based on patient numbers and needs, provides visibility of staffing levels in relation to patient numbers and responds in real time to roster changes.

Dr. Anne Drake, Director of Nursing Quality and Patient Safety at LUH, commented: “The Allocate e-rostering solution gives us a much more efficient staff rostering system and ensures we have the optimal mix of staff available to meet our patients’ needs at all times. It also gives staff ultimate transparency and control of their shifts, allowing them to book shifts remotely through the software’s complementary cloud based app.

“The feedback from staff has been extremely positive. It has provided nurses, midwives and healthcare assistants with the freedom and control to roster their availability, which has enabled them to better plan and use their leisure time. Another benefit of the system is that it has allowed staff to track and monitor their work history, annual leave, hours worked and overtime. Professionally, it has also highlighted the requirements for staff development (i.e. study days) enabling staff to meet their professional and academic needs.”

Following the implementation of the project, research into evaluation of the implementation process was carried out in 2017, by Ulster University research team led by Dr. Felicity Hasson.  The findings were published at the end of 2018 and showed the following responses from clinical staff: –

  • 69.5% of staff found the e-rostering system easy to use
  • 70% of staff feel confident using the e-rostering system

“The LUH e-rostering project rollout has been a huge undertaking but it has been highly successful. It is now recognised as an innovative e-rostering implementation blueprint for the rest of the country by the Irish healthcare community. The post implementation research with staff shows there is a strong level of confidence – both in the use of the e-rostering system and in its ability to deliver consistently safe and robust shift allocation practices,” commented Hugh Ashley, Managing Director, Allocate UK & Ireland.

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