The hiring environment in the healthcare industry has become very competitive, according to a whitepaper published by a leading health management portal ‘Healthmanagement.org’.
It says hospitals must do everything possible to attract, retain, and develop their workforce. The whitepaper stresses the need for improving operational efficiency to drive productivity and employee satisfaction.
The portal states that for hospitals to turn into a desirable place to work, they first need to build an institutional climate to make this possible. As the world’s patient populations grow and age, it writes that hospitals worldwide are competing to attract and retain enough qualified staff to meet the demand.
It writes that health organizations must refrain from asking an insufficient number of employees to simply work longer and harder, as it leads to employee burnout and makes a hospital unattractive to potential new hires. This option must never be used, it states.
Exploring the strategies that thought leaders recommend, the white papers adds that hospitals instead must utilize their employees more efficiently, reducing time spent on tedious administrative tasks in order to focus on patient care.
Examining the factors that contribute to employee satisfaction, the portal dwells on processes such as ongoing onsite training, smart credentialing process, more capable management, and HR policies that are increasingly supportive of the female proportion of the healthcare workforce.
Huge staffing dilemma faced by healthcare facilities around the world
The healthcare needs of the rising patient population in many developed and developing countries have been growing, and many health providers have been struggling to the source, attract, and retain adequate numbers of trained, qualified healthcare professionals, especially physicians and nurses, the portal observed.
It states that hospitals and health systems need employees with a new balance of skills – such as advanced nurse practitioners, physician assistants, medical technology specialists, and IT experts for integrating and standardizing data from multiple sources.
Elaborating on how hospital executives should approach the workforce problem, the portal suggests that it could be done from two different directions, first by increasing labor efficiency, and next by maximizing their efforts to attract and retain employees.
Both directions, the portal states support one another, the hospital that would be making more efficient use of its employees time will more likely attract and retain staff, and a hospital that is well and capably staffed tends to run more efficiently.
Focus on Labor efficiency
In the face of the staffing shortage, the portal proposes that health organizations must achieve more with less. This goal of manufacturing applies to hospitals that have been struggling to provide optimum care to patients.
In an attempt to increase productivity in the past, hospitals often made the mistake of asking their employees to do more in less time. This the portal observed, led to high staff churn, increased absenteeism, and diminished overall employee satisfaction, besides poor patient outcomes, decreased patient satisfaction, and higher admission rates.
The portal suggests that the aim of effective hospital management must be to use staff more efficiently, instead of asking them to work overtime.
It advocates the view, that hospitals should streamline their workflow in a manner that would reduce the amount of time on administration tasks. Thereby each staff member will experience less stress and will have more time to focus on patient care.
The article quoting Brendon Ziolo, the head of large enterprise strategy at Alcatel-Lucent, an IP networking and cloud technology company, states that most digital information and processes in hospitals reside in disparate systems or devices that must be interconnected and integrated to truly improve workflow and quality care.
Further adding that often staff could be found doing double data entry. They pull information from different systems and jumping through hoops to pull together.
The portal quoting Brenden states, that the goal in a digital hospital should be to automate. It will improve staff efficiency, information accuracy, and overall saving cost.
Quoting further, the portal goes on to state that by standardizing procedures. Breaking down processes into their component parts, digitizing, connecting and analyzing them, hospitals can realize unprecedented efficiency.
Once processes are well understood, quoting Brenden, the portal adds that technology solutions. It can be leveraged to streamline these processes and integrate disparate elements.
Essential to this integration is the information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure that interconnects all aspects of care delivery and hospital administration, concluding Brenden’s observation, the portal states that properly designed efficiency measures that are focused on freeing up working time and reducing hours contribute to employee satisfaction.
Staff Retention Challenges
Healthcare organizations have a 30 percent higher employee turnover than other industries, as per ‘healthmanagement.org’. The portal states, that when it comes to nursing staff, involuntary terminations, excessive workload, and relationships with supervisors and colleagues are the most commonly cited causes of turnover. The domain points out that the most successful organizations have approached this problem through credentialing. The nursing employees during the interview undergo proven behavioral assessments to determine their competencies.
Healthcare workforce solution providers recommend these additional strategies, according to the domain, it minimizes turnover among front-line and nursing staff. It further recommends that work expectations must be clearly explained during recruiting and onboarding.
The domain suggests that staff must be encouraged for their inputs on critical issues. Their career development ambitions must be supported, work schedules must be flexible. It also recommends employing trained managers to engage and develop front line staff, and build teamwork. The same measure, the domain states should be relevant to another workforce of the hospital.
The domain points out that there is a great desire and need for continuous workplace training among doctors and other qualified medical personal. Patient mortality, according to the domain, reduced by 15 percent. And after team training sessions, and medical errors were down by 19 percent.
Major Credentialing Challenges:
An estimated 98,000 Americans die each year due to medical negligence. These figures are alarming, necessitating industry leaders to demand enhanced standards of competency and transparency whenever any disciplinary action has been taken, involving a health worker.
Despite the advancement in technology, health organizations continue using outdated manual paper-based credentialing process, which is slow and never guarantees transparency of provider’s credentials.
All it takes is a simple human error processing a bunch of paper documentations, relevant to credentialing, precipitating a situation, where a nurse can be authorized to perform services that is beyond the realm of experience, or a physician is allowed to continue practice with an expired license.
This can severely jeopardize patient safety, putting at risk a professional survival, besides sullying the reputation of the affiliated organization.
Regular monitoring is overlooked because of time constraints and the cost factor entailing manual validation of employee records with different primary sources. In many instances, acquisition of manual data and verification of a single physician can take several days or even months to process.
However, an ever evolving regulatory reform has highlighted the importance of implementing automated credentialing, that would the reach and meet the criteria of improving the quality of care at minimal cost.
Concluding, the domain proposes a good and healthy working relationship with colleagues as a prerequisite for high employee satisfaction. The emphasis on effective communication is an essential component of the job.