How VCU Health Uses Workday to Consolidate Dispersed Systems and Fine-Tune Operations

2023-06-08 16:00:00

Healthcare organizations have had a lot to contend with in recent years, from staff shortages and supply chain disruptions to margin pressures and economic uncertainty. Thankfully, modern technologies enable healthcare institutions to adapt and thrive in these complex and increasingly fluid conditions.

Elizabeth (Beth) Allen, VP of Strategic Finance and Analytics at VCU Health, joined Bob Evans, Founder of Cloud Wars and Co-Founder of Acceleration Economy, to discuss how her team use Workday to overcome some of the most persistent challenges in the healthcare sector.

Giving Clinicians the Space to Focus on the Jobs They Were Trained to Do

Bob began the discussion by asking Beth to share her perspective on the current healthcare landscape and how it had influenced her priorities at VCU Health.

“VCU is like a lot of academic healthcare systems across the country,” responded Beth. “Right now, we’re under a lot of pressure from the top line on our revenue, as well as on the expense structure, as we’ve seen contract labor go through the roof. We’ve been dealing with the pandemic and adjusting as quickly and as easily as we can.”

“VCU Health has always tried to stay focused on its core mission to serve the Commonwealth of Virginia. And so we have worked hard to make sure that we’re putting our patients first, our team members first, and then working to create as many efficiencies as we can,” she continued.

To help weather this storm, Beth and her team brought in a series of technology solutions, including Workday. One of the key benefits of incorporating Workday into the organization was the platform’s capacity to alleviate the strain of non-medical tasks on the clinical staff.

“Nurses (and) doctors came into healthcare to serve patients. We want to enable them to do their best work for us at the organization and minimize some of the rework, some of the tedious work,” said Beth. “We’re working with the new systems that we have in place to really minimize some of those efforts.”

Consolidating Systems for Better Outcomes: One Unified System

Beth explained how a need to optimize HCM, financial, and supply chain management led the VCU Health team to Workday and where the organization was headed with the tools.

“We contemplated where we want VCU Health to be in the future, and so we looked at what we had at the time, we had 20 disparate systems,” she said. “We had different systems for our payroll processing and our HR. We had different systems for supply chain or different connections and integrations. And, of course, at any time, one of those integrations would go down.”

“When we looked at Workday, we really appreciated everything being in one place,” continued Beth. “It is a single system that works together, so if we make a change in one area, it flows through the system, and then we can manage it better.”

“One of our greatest successes with Workday is with our payroll processing. We used to, unfortunately, come close to deadlines on an every-other-week basis while we were processing payroll, and there’s an anxiety that comes with not being able to pay your 13,000 hardworking healthcare individuals,” said Beth. “We are now down to a day and a half. We always make our deadlines. So that’s been a huge win for us, organizationally.”

And Workday is having a company-wide impact, empowering staff to do more with data. “We’re really working hard to adopt that self-serve model in the system,” said Beth. “We didn’t have that prior to Workday. And so that’s been a cultural change as we go forward.”

“Really giving people the information at their fingertips to do their jobs, to be able to do it easier, it’ll be a lot of change for the organization, but we are seeing progress as we go forward.”

The Workday AI and ML Impact

Workday has been a leader in AI and ML for several years. Bob asked Beth to explain these technologies’ impact on VCU Health.

“We have opportunities to take advantage of more AI and machine learning as we go forward with Workday,” said Beth. “We’re looking at Journal Insights to shorten our month-end close. And how we can use trending data to reduce the amount of time spent analyzing it.”

The VCU Health team is focused on leveraging Workday’s AI and ML capabilities to automate some of the manual work processes they have in place and streamline access to critical data. “We’re talking about dashboards and how can you come into the office and open the system and have the information right there so that you don’t have to look for it.”


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