The healthcare industry is facing a big challenge. We are all aware of the struggle with attracting and retaining healthcare staff and the effect this has on patient care. The figures below show that without some immediate action, this will only continue to worsen.
- Staff turnover has reached an all time high. There are 165,000 open positions – the highest rate on record.
- In addition to this, 18% of doctors considered leaving their profession in 2021. This indicates that by 2030, there will be an estimated shortfall of 10 million healthcare workers worldwide.
So why are healthcare professionals leaving the industry?
The problem of understaffing in the healthcare industry is putting extra strain on the remaining workers. This and the constant need to make timely decisions while managing high workloads also leads to increased stress, burnout and mental fatigue.
New statistics show that 1 in 5 GPs report having poor mental health as a result of the heavy workloads and poor IT systems impacting the available time they spend with patients. This is concerning since more than 13.5 million hours of doctors’ time is being lost each year in England due to delays resulting from inadequate or malfunctioning IT systems and equipment. Moreover, long shifts and unsociable hours are common for healthcare workers adding to the strain and challenging working conditions faced by many..
The cumulative effect of these factors does not only affect the healthcare workers but also has a significant impact on patient care. To lessen the negative impact, new strategies and procedures must be put in place to address these issues.
So what are these immediate solutions that can reduce staff turnover? What can companies do to solve this challenge?
There is a clear demand for flexibility among the healthcare workforce and digital technologies can help. Using technology to conduct remote consultations will allow businesses to offer more flexible working for their staff and promote better work-life balance. Letting staff choose what working arrangements suit their lifestyle best might just be the right answer to staff retention.
It is critical to make investment in technology that can give back time to your healthcare workers. By optimising clinician workflows, streamlining processes and using automation, you can eliminate manual processes that impact clinicians efficiency.
One way to reduce administrative burden is of course by automating repetitive tasks such as data entry and documentation. Smart clinical dashboards offer free as well as pre-populated text fields to save valuable clinician time. Other functionality that can help minimise the time spent on administrative tasks is the clinician notes auto-save function and the ability to generate consultation summary from these notes.
By using the latest technology, you should focus on boosting communication across systems to optimise clinician workflows. Enable quick referral letter creation and include digital prescriptions to save time and boost productivity.
Digital technology such as online consultations, remote triage, and patient portals offer flexibility in managing patient interactions. By providing patients with a direct access to their health information and facilitating secure communication with healthcare professionals minimises the need for manual administrative tasks such as phone calls and appointment coordination and helps clinicians devote more time to patient care.
There is no quick fix to this problem but there are steps that can be taken to alleviate the negative effect. By leveraging technology-driven strategies, healthcare businesses can address the increased stress, burnout and mental fatigue and foster a healthier work environment.