Psychiatric Services Aargau AG (PDAG) safeguard psychiatric treatment and care by providing emergency services and crisis intervention for the population of the canton of Aargau. PDAG are owned by the canton of Aargau and comprise four clinics with specific offerings for all age and patient groups. Around 1,300 people in over 50 professions work for PDAG, which is a teaching hospital of the Medical Faculty of the University of Zurich and a training centre for professions in the healthcare sector. More www.pdag.ch
The initial situation
The challenge of personnel planning in the coronavirus crisis
Systematically important infrastructures must be maintained in crisis situations such as the coronavirus pandemic. This applies in particular to healthcare institutions such as PDAG and presents them with major challenges: They must have enough staff available to ensure both patient care during ongoing operations and flexible reaction capability to new requirements – such as increasing patient numbers due to the spread of the virus and the associated increase in cases of mental illness, or government regulations on creating additional beds and human resources for the treatment or isolation of patients.
One of the basic requirements is an overview of the current staff availability in all departments – from nursing, specialist therapies and social service to administration and clinic management. What initially sounds easy turns out to be a real challenge in the current crisis situation: there is the need not just for basic information about how many of the approximately 1,300 employees are currently unavailable due to leave or illness. According to Rena Ruhle, application manager for PEP & HR Controlling PDAG, detailed information is also required: “For personnel planning, the management needs to precisely know, among other things: who is able to work, but in isolation, or has to take care of their (healthy or sick) children at home – and who can work from home? Who has the coronavirus and who is unable to work for other reasons? Whether continued wages are paid, short periods of leave paid, overtime can be reduced or unpaid leave must be taken depends on these factors. This is also important information for management and controlling in order to keep tabs on personnel costs.”
The software used for personnel planning has been expanded to include the absence icons “Corona” and “Isolation” in order to be able to record the reasons for the absence in greater detail. However, the data evaluation required to enable measures to be derived was too time-consuming and prone to errors. Rena Ruhle spent about three hours a day exporting the data to Excel and preparing it for analysis. “In exceptional circumstances such as the current pandemic, time is scarce”, says Rena Ruhle. “We have to quickly and reliably know where we are in terms of personnel, both at the corporate level and at the level of the individual clinics. That’s the only way we can recognise where there are potential bottlenecks and take countermeasures – for example, increasing staff numbers by hiring additional staff or redistributing employees or patients among the individual clinics.”
Informatec implements Qlik dashboard with PEP data in just two days
Rena Ruhle wanted to create a way to automatically retrieve this information from the data stored in the PEP system, evaluate it and visualise it in an easily comprehensible way.
The clinic group had already been using the appropriate technological basis with Qlik, the analysis and reporting solution for human resource controlling. What they still lacked was a tailor-made application.
The Swiss BI expert and Qlik Elite Solution Provider Informatec was to take responsibility for its development. This was a real baptism of fire for the BI and Data Analytics service provider, who had only just started using Qlik to take care of business intelligence issues for the clinic group at the end of February. “We hadn’t really got beyond an initial introductory workshop when the effects of the pandemic reached us and required immediate action,” reports Rena Ruhle. The Informatec experts had to show what they were capable of right away. And they were fully committed to doing so, as Rena Ruhle confirms. “They really dropped everything to help us. The application was up and running in just two days! I was really impressed with how quickly and professionally Informatec implemented our requirements in a solution.”
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Personnel availability at a glance
Rena Ruhle provides an up-to-date report for the PDAG crisis team every two days, stating the number of employees according to criteria such as “isolation”, “home office in conjunction with Covid 19”, “sick with Covid 19”, “sick without Covid 19”, and “paid short leave in conjunction with Covid 19,” etc.
The information is visualised in a dashboard at various aggregation levels: for example, as an overview of the entire company, at the level of the individual clinics or by department, such as nursing, specialist therapies and social service, human resources or finance and IT.
In-depth analyses, for example at department and employee level, are made available whenever required. The data is updated every two hours and this can be adapted to shorter intervals as necessary. The dashboard can also be expanded as needed, should additional evaluations be required.
“Quick as a flash within two days, Informatec developed a Qlik application tailored precisely to our requirements that we can use to call up PEP data in different levels of detail at the touch of a button and see the exact availability of staff – from the company level to the individual employee level .”
Rena Ruhle, Applikationsverantwortliche PEP & HR Controlling, Psychiatrische Dienste Aargau AG
A lack of transparency about staff availability; no automated data preparation; too much time invested in data acquisition and preparation; a lack of flexibility for in-depth and broad analyses; manual data analysis using Excel was prone to errors.
The development and implementation of an integral application based on Qlik to automatically prepare and visualise personnel availability data for around 1,300 employees from the personnel planning software at different aggregation levels.
- up-to-date data on coronavirus-induced staff absences at the touch of a button
- higher data quality through automated data provision
- visual and therefore easily comprehensible information
- analyses in flexible depth and breadth (from hospital group to employee level)