Being such a dynamic industry by nature, healthcare will continue to change and evolve in the new year. One of the main areas that experts are predicting a noticeable shift is in the deliberate and more extensive integration of social determinants of health (SDOH) into all facets of operations from registration through discharge planning. Value-based administration will become more commonplace in 2022 as staff, clinicians, and patients alike are incentivized to discuss and document SDOH as a routine part of each healthcare encounter.
Long before the pandemic began, a shift started occurring in healthcare; an evolution of the nursing profession that introduced new opportunities to licensed staff, deviating from traditional patient care. While these innovative roles are enticing and serve to strengthen hospital operations by expanding skill sets and meeting previously unaddressed needs, these positions are creating further strain on care delivery. Staff shortages were already plaguing the industry and now nursing advancement is another element that organizations must navigate.
It is hard to believe, but 2021 has proven to be as difficult a year, if not more so, than 2020 for the healthcare industry. Not only did hospitals and health systems have to work through steep financial and operational recovery strategies to try and equalize the effects of the pandemic, but they had to address further staffing/resource shortages, the impacts of natural disasters, increased labor costs, and prioritize employee emotional well-being all while continuing to manage new COVID surges. That is enough to make any leader skeptical of what 2022 will bring.
This is a question that many Americans have been asking themselves since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic; is it better to stay home and visit with a doctor via a telehealth appointment, or is it worth it to venture into the office for a face-to-face visit? Born of necessity, the rapid expansion of the telehealth platform and its increasing popularity over the last 18 months have revolutionized the way that patients are receiving care. Telehealth appears to be one of the positive and lasting impacts of this mass-scale health crisis, widely adopted by providers as a commonplace treatment option. Though an in-person follow-up visit may eventually be required for some specialties, virtual visits have proven to provide the same level and quality of care as their in-person counterparts.
Demand in healthcare, by nature, can be hard to predict. A fundamental part of care delivery is being prepared for the unexpected, whether that be the effects of a natural disaster, large-scale safety event, or global pandemic. However, that does not mean that daily staffing patterns and annual budgets should be buffered to accommodate the “what-ifs.
Spring has sprung! This is the season of rebirth and reinvention. While some organizations are beginning their new fiscal year, others may be reviewing their Q1 performance or gearing up to start their budget process. Regardless of what category your hospital or health system falls into, it is essential to remember the impact productivity has on sustained improvement and continued fiscal strength.
You don’t need a leprechaun or the “luck of the Irish” to reap the benefits of a productivity management system. Healthcare organizations across the country are managing their COVID-19 recovery through productivity by appropriately aligning their resources with rebounding patient volumes and current community needs. Productivity initiatives promote high-quality care, cost reduction, patient/employee satisfaction, and sustainability.
Love is in the air, and in healthcare, change is always on the horizon. A focus on productivity and workforce optimization may be part of your organization’s 2021 initiatives, but you may be personally struggling with getting behind the proposed strategies. You are not alone – many industry leaders and professionals have a love/hate relationship with performance improvement.
As we bid good riddance to the stress and uncertainty of 2020, it is safe to say that everyone is excited to begin the new year. However, the challenges of last year have helped to guide growth, both personal and professional. That is why it is more important than ever to use the start of 2021 as a time for reflection and evaluation, determining how to further improve upon a foundation forged in the chaos of the pandemic.
Many healthcare leaders believe that the term “minimum staffing” is the result of performance improvement initiatives aimed at doing more with less. It is actually a critical component of any department’s operations and should be considered in all productivity strategies and staffing-based decisions. Minimum staffing levels indicate the number of manhours across each job code category in a department, regardless of patient census or workload, necessary to operate safely and efficiently.