For the vast majority of hospitals, the pandemic was just the beginning of many issues they would face in the coming years. Poor hospital margins in 2022 led to the worst financial year since the pandemic hit, labor shortages and employee burnout, including among executives, is pervasive and 631 rural hospitals across the country are at risk of closing.
With an uncertain economic outlook looming, healthcare organizations are trying to focus on their top priorities: labor shortage and burnout, patient engagement, value in care and healthcare technology innovations.
Address Labor Shortages and Burnout
There will always be people who are drawn to the healthcare field and how fulfilling it is. That passion pulls many people into the industry, but burnout, especially over several years like it has been for many nurses and physicians, eventually takes a toll. There’s only so much healthcare organizations can do once a person loses that passion.
While acquiring and retaining talent is a top priority among healthcare organizations, addressing burnout is extremely important in order to improve care efficiencies, health outcomes, organizational culture and over time, acquisition and retention of staff.
To do this, 95% of providers are planning to invest in technology in 2023 to address labor shortages and cut costs. Through a single patient engagement platform like Upfront, healthcare organizations can consolidate vendors with clinical, financial and operational needs all in one place with advanced workflows that integrate seamlessly with EMR systems. It can also reduce the need for extra work among staff, reducing their burdens so their load is lightened and they can focus on what drew them to healthcare in the first place: caring for patients.
Foster Patient Engagement
The best way providers can convince healthcare consumers to take charge of their health is to make it easily fit their lifestyle, even when times are uncertain. Establishing patient loyalty is vital to achieving this goal, but embedding this easily within a health system’s framework is easier said than done. But what does help is a segmentation model that hones in on what motivates a patient to pay a bill, get their annual check-up or follow through on a care plan.
Psychographic Segmentation does this by segmenting healthcare consumers into five segments based on their beliefs, values and ideals that determine their health motivations. This effectively provides a deeper understanding of healthcare consumers so that healthcare providers can convince them to take steps to improve their health and wellbeing.
From here, providers can tweak messaging to fit patient preferences based on content, tone and how frequently they’re sent. A platform they use, like the one offered by Upfront, can pull patient insights to continue to get a better understanding of patients and activate patient behaviors.
This saves money lost having to acquire new patients after losing some and builds revenue over time. It also allows providers to be the trusted source for their care and increase the likeliness that they will stick with you, in tough times and good times.
Deliver Value in Care
Healthcare consumers are like any other consumer: They expect a service or good that costs a lot to be worth the value it provides.
But health outcomes data paint a bleaker picture in the United States according to a study from the Commonwealth Fund. Despite spending two to four times more on healthcare than other high-income countries, the U.S. has the lowest life expectancy of all of these countries, the highest rates of avoidable deaths and rates three times as high for infant and maternal deaths compared for most of these countries.
This is an overarching problem that isn’t meant to be solved by one healthcare organization, but there are steps to improve it.
So, what does delivering a high value in care look like? It starts with a care delivery system that works for each individual patient. For instance, a patient engagement platform that uses machine learning to determine the next best step for a patient based on their chronic conditions, their current care plan, social determinants and more. Solutions like this not only improve health outcomes, but also reduce unnecessary hospital readmissions by taking a proactive versus reactive approach. And while doing all of this, collecting patient insights to determine what their preferences and motivations are to see what encourages patient loyalty.
Seek Healthcare Technology Innovations
For healthcare organizations looking for new streams of growth and revenue, they don’t have to look any further than digital options like telehealth, virtual care and digital home health care. While the use of them hasn’t been as high as the onset of the pandemic, they’re viable options to pursue now that patients are aware of these options and expect to have them.
Digital healthcare technologies offer numerous benefits other than adding another stream of revenue. They can decrease costs by reducing ER visits, drive more care efficiencies and improve health outcomes, especially for chronic conditions.
Plus, these alternatives improve care disparities, especially for rural populations as their healthcare options dwindle. It allows patients to have alternatives that help them get the care they need without having to travel great distances to get to their provider. Many physicians say that telehealth helps patients manage their care, avoid poor health outcomes and for those in rural areas, provide patients a viable care option.
This isn’t even factoring the “Silver Tsunami” that will hit the healthcare industry by 2030, in which older patients will want to especially utilize digital health resources that allow them to care for themselves on their own.
There’s a reason why many health systems have invested $2.5 billion in remote monitoring and home healthcare. Healthcare solutions that utilize technology are driving future growth in the industry and will help these organizations navigate economic uncertainty.
Looking for a solution to your most pressing healthcare challenges? Contact Upfront today to see how we can help.