With a new President-elect soon to take office, more emphasis than ever will be placed on the economy. That said, one of the worst stretches ever for American productivity growth is showing signs of improvement with the latest report out of the Labor Department showing U.S. worker productivity rose in the third quarter. It’s important to note that the increase comes after three consecutive quarters of declines and many economists are emphasizing that productivity growth is still almost non-existent on a year-over-year basis. Worker productivity is a measure of efficiency tied to growth and one of the most important criteria businesses need to keep in mind to be profitable. So, what has been missing in the story on how to achieve gains in productivity-specifically in the food and healthcare industry?
Historically, workplace monitoring brought up negative connotations of a Big Brother-like atmosphere. However, today, when it comes to sectors where safety concerns are common (i.e. healthcare services and food safety industries), remote video auditing (RVA) technology has been shown to be embraced by all and can bring about major benefits when it is used with positive feedback. RVA by Arrowsight is unlike other forms of video surveillance and can best be described as “game film for business”. If businesses use cameras in the workplace the same way sports teams use them to prepare for a winning game, they will ultimately improve performance. The key is not to single anyone out but to do it with positive feedback in a group setting to create a competition-like atmosphere between groups with an ultimate winners’ circle for those who perform best. It’s a known fact that employees want to do a good job, but they don’t always have the tools to do that and within healthcare, doing your job correctly can mean the difference between life and death.
Increasing Productivity Using Remote Video Auditing
Encourage Safe Procedures: An important note to keep in mind is what makes RVA impactful is not the videotaping alone – it’s the feedback. Northwell Health's Long Island Jewish Medical Center saw this first-hand with a study published in the British Medical Journal. The study showed implementation of third-party RVA in operating rooms with real-time feedback, resulting in the significant improvement of the surgical team’s compliance of the surgical safety checklist for all surgical cases and a reduction in turnover time for scheduled cases.
Measure Performance: Video technology has long been used for security purposes, but has rarely been used to measure performance. One of the things RVA has helped to glean is that measuring performance helps to improve productivity. For example, Northwell Health’s OR rooms have implemented RVA that looks at efficiency metrics. The alerting program has helped efficiencies between patient cases, reducing turnover time between each case by 25%, and ultimately improving both surgeon and patient satisfaction. These improvements also increase OR surgery time for more cases to be done and improves safety protocols, thereby reducing wrong-site surgeries and instances of retained medical objects. In addition, RVA technology helps to reduce hospital-acquired infections as cleaning procedures must be performed meticulously between cases, otherwise workers have to repeat the process.
Mitigate Mistakes: With an endless amount of moving parts, there are a long list of things that can go wrong and impede productivity, and safety in the meat industry is a perfect example. With employee turnover high, it is often times difficult to ensure proper employee safety practices in large facilities. JBS, a leading processor of beef, pork and lamb in the U.S. had a very strong food safety program for their beef slaughter plants, but wanted RVA to elevate their food safety performance. After the implementation of RVA, compliance rose to 99.7% and lowered e-coli and salmonella rates by a whopping 60% by identifying groups of employees who needed further training in food safety procedures.
Positive Reinforcement: Let’s face it, the elephant in the room with many organizations is they worry that RVA will be viewed negatively by staff. All performance feedback is delivered to clients in the form of aggregate team scores instead of individual based scoring. The real-time performance feedback focuses on highlighting and rewarding positive employee performance metrics. As an example, on the feedback displays in the surgical suites at Northwell Health there is a section on the electronic boards that showcases “The Winner’s Circle”, which lists the operating room teams that have achieved exceptional patient safety or efficiency metrics for that shift.
In an era where safety, productivity and efficiency is of utmost concern, remote video auditing should be considered by those in all industries as a tool that can help save lives, improve morale and, at the same time, improve the bottom line of businesses globally.