Three nurses and one doctor pushing a patient in a gurney in hospital corridor

The Road to the “New Normal”

With the stay-at-home orders beginning to be lifted and life starting to normalize once again, there are many things healthcare leaders need to be cognizant of as the industry enters the recovery phase of this pandemic. Hospital and health system executives need to take stock of what has occurred, identify the impacts, both financially and operationally, and take the necessary steps NOW to prepare for what comes next. Here are a couple of key elements to consider:

  • What waivers and operating flexibilities has your organization taken advantage of over recent months? Though it remains unclear if/when any of the regulatory changes made to create access and ease the delivery of care during this time will expire, plans must be developed to account for all scenarios. Leaders need to evaluate the continued need for certain practitioners and services born from these leniencies and put the structures in place to continue to offer what care is still required in the safest, most sustainable format
  • Have you evaluated your staffing needs based on staged volume regrowth? Despite the dramatic decrease in volumes and staffing that organizations suffered at the onset of this health crisis, the pace of rebounding volume will be much slower and should be used to dictate if/when furloughed staff are reinstated. Healthcare leaders need to look at historical trends to identify average inpatient and outpatient volume levels and apply a tiered approach to that workload normalizing in the months ahead. At each phase, required staffing levels need to be identified through best practice staffing metrics and implemented in order to ensure quality care is provided and cost is contained.
  • Are remote working environments sustainable moving forward? Leaders from all industries will be asking themselves this question in the coming months as our country’s workforce begins to reshape. One lesson that this pandemic has taught us all in healthcare is that many of the services provided and job functions performed are actually feasible from a remote workspace. Leaders need to conduct a cost-benefit analysis to determine which roles can be moved to a virtual setting permanently and if the savings outweigh the risks.
  • What is being done to mitigate the effects this experience has had on your staff, patients, and the community? It is vital to remember that everyone has been impacted by this pandemic, not just the essential workers and frontline heroes. It has taken a significant toll, whether it be financial, physical, or emotional and sacrifices have been made by all that have experienced it. Do not ignore or minimize what has happened, but instead recognize these contributions. Moving forward, open and constant communication will be of the utmost importance. Stakeholders will be looking to hospital leaders to prioritize their safety and well-being as well as provide guidance pertaining to what changes they can expect going forward. Properly communicating what services are available and in what format will help to ease uncertainty and allow people to begin to cope with this new environment.

The ATLIUS team has been helping clients and colleagues navigate through these challenging times by providing strategies to support systematic financial and operational recovery. We recognize the unique opportunity that exists to turn the proverbial “lemons to lemonade” by capitalizing on the opportunities this unprecedented turn of events has afforded. The landscape of healthcare has changed and we need to adapt. To learn more about how ALTIUS can help you and your organization prepare for post-COVID success, please visit our website or reach out directly!

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