Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Reported versus Actual

I recently have been reviewing articles on occupational stress, workload, and job performance. Overall, my reading has enlightened me. The issue is far more complex than I had thought. I was saddened that I was unable to find any articles that had studied the rehabilitation professions on these topics. I was surprised to see one article authored by a former prof from my MBA days.

One article struck a cord. It focused on addressing the qualitative elements of performance, not just the quantitative ones. The most important piece of information that stuck with me can be stated as "Don't Confuse the Product with Productivity".

What some managers don't realize is that when workload is excessive a number of factors come into play that don't simply result in the prioritization of caseload and patient care, but that the actual delivery of services changes. The non-stressed therapist and the overworked therapist might report the same workload, but the actual services delivered to the patient (not to mention, the quality of those services) is different.

A manager with a frame of reference only focused on workload reported (e.g., direct and in-direct patient care stats) fails to appreciate that outcomes suffer whenever workload exceeds resources for anything but the shortest period of time.

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