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Case Study

How CHEO Used Real-Time Target Tracking to Calibrate Staffing Levels

10 Minute Read


The challenge

Most unit managers have access only to retrospective, infrequent staffing reports. These reports rarely contain all the budgetary information managers need to make staffing decisions. As a result, managers are unable to make informed, in-the-moment adjustments to meet staffing targets.

The organization

Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) is a 167-bed public children’s hospital in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

The approach

Recognizing the costs of regularly missing staffing targets, CHEO’s chief nursing executive worked with the information technology (IT) department to develop a daily staffing dashboard. This dashboard allows managers, care facilitators, and off-hours charge nurses to make real-time adjustments to their schedules and helps units avoid going over budget.

The result

Since the dashboard was implemented, unnecessary hours at CHEO have decreased while quality measures remain high.



How CHEO used real-time data to adjust staffing levels

In 2015, CHEO sought to empower managers to identify and address staffing variances in the moment. This document focuses on CHEO’s unit-level staffing dashboard and how managers use the data to flex staff around the organization as needed.


The three components

The three components to adjusting staffing levels:

  • Component

    Create a tool to track and analyze real-time staffing data

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  • Component

    Empower managers to identify unit staffing mismatches

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  • Component

    Recalibrate staffing levels at daily organizational bed meetings

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CHEO has decreased the number of wasted hours while maintaining high quality measures. Since implementing the tool, the nursing department has avoided CA$2.1 million in costs.

Additionally, frontline nurses feel more accountable for financial indicators and understand how their work impacts the organization’s budget.

[Someone in my staff said that] as a frontline nurse, [she] never knew what the budget was and never questioned what the budget was. Now, [she] thinks it’s something that needs to be at the forefront for frontline staff."

Helen Yoxon,  Manager of Palliative Care

Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario

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