The healthcare labor shortage is dire, and healthcare organizations are in the thick of it. The HHS projects that the demand for registered nurses will be over 3.6 million by 2030 (>500,000 more RNs than were employed in 2021), and the Association of American Medical Colleges sees the U.S. short of up to 124,000 physicians by 2034. It’s no surprise that workforce challenges is the top issue among hospital CEOs according to the American College of Healthcare Executives’ annual survey.
With no end in sight for healthcare worker burnout and bleak results on hospital margins in 2022, providers are looking for solutions. Thanks to technological advancements in healthcare over the years and patient engagement solutions that have made an impact, there are several ways healthcare providers can address the labor shortage.
Competitive Benefits and Culture
During the interview process, there are many healthcare organizations that will tout their benefits and how great their culture is, but once employees take the job, reality paints a different picture and eventually, the employee finds another job elsewhere with better benefits and work environment. Other providers may not even get that far and jobseekers avoid them altogether.
COVID changed the way everyone views their jobs, especially healthcare workers. They need more of an incentive to stay in their jobs, even if they are passionate about caring for patients. An obvious option is to increase salaries and add benefits that are competitive with other local health organizations. If they don’t match up with what potential employees are looking for, consider referral bonuses, additional PTO and a flexible schedule options. For parents, paid paternity leave and a daycare provider option are a huge plus.
Excellent benefits certainly help steer the culture, but incorporating thankfulness does too. A quarterly day of service, company outings and especially staff recognition goes a long way.
Reassessing benefits regularly helps providers to stay ahead of the preferences and standards.
Healthcare labor shortages will be an issue for the foreseeable future, so putting a talent pipeline in place is critical. If finding and hiring the talent is the main hurdle, a recruiter that specializes in healthcare may work well. If the goal is to attract talent long-term, partnerships with universities and community colleges would be ideal. It could be through an internship program, a co-op program or a scholarship fund.
As the need for healthcare talent continues to grow, so do the costs. While travel nurses are always an option, salaries are still above pre-pandemic levels and making a large impact on expenses. Providers will have a much easier time navigating this challenge by making a long-term investment in recruitment.
Improving & Automating Workflows
Artificial intelligence is utilized in much of healthcare now, and for good reason. A report from McKinsey and Havard found that using AI in healthcare could save the United States $360 billion dollars, streamlining operations and improving health outcomes. But the biggest benefit for healthcare workers is that it can reduce their workload.
For instance, instead of having to manually call patients for appointment reminders, a notification through a patient engagement platform can be sent instead. Doctors and nurses can quickly pull up past patient information and see the steps that have already been taken for a patient to reach them. They can also get alerts if a patient needs more attention.
By utilizing AI and process automation through a patient engagement solution, advanced interoperability can make all the difference in making their job easier.
Remote Care Options
Remote and at-home healthcare technology has shifted focus. While forms of it like telehealth may have plateaued since the peak of the pandemic, these care options are becoming a key player in chronic care management.
The pandemic made patients and providers see the benefits of using these tools to keep chronic conditions in check. For starters, telehealth allows patients to see providers wherever they want on their own time, so they’re less likely to miss appointments or skip them due to distance. Remote monitoring gives health systems a heads up if a patient needs additional care instead of having them check in when they don’t need it. Home health care serves the patients who are in need of more support, but don’t need to leave their home and add that expense not only on themselves, but also their provider.
All of these methods save money, drive efficiency, reduce care gaps and improve health outcomes, but with the labor shortage, they’re vital for reducing burnout and burdens on healthcare workers. Check out our solutions to see how your healthcare organization can reduce operational costs.