The Next Phase in Healthcare is Fully Integrated
We often talk about an integrated healthcare experience in term of patient-facing technologies. We know that healthcare agencies can improve retention by using an integrated app for patient scheduling, in-app communication and refill requests. And the number of patient-facing healthcare apps on the market is increasing by about 6.5% per quarter.
So why are healthcare employees so often neglected when it comes time for an organization to invest in an integrated workforce solution?
The Healthcare Predicament
After all, the healthcare industry is facing a glaring labor shortage. The nurse and physician shortage during the pandemic attracted talent to cities with denser populations, such as New York and L.A., that offered wage spikes for healthcare workers. This led to an exodus of nurses from rural areas to bigger cities. However, even rates of up to $150 an hour are not enough to keep some healthcare workers on the frontline. A whopping 22% of nurses say they may leave their position in the coming year.
How bad is the healthcare staffing issue in the U.S.? Harvard Public Health Review reports that, by 2025, the United States will face a shortage of 446,300 home health aides, 98,700 medical laboratory technologists and technicians, 95,000 nursing assistants, and 29,400 nurses. There will also be a physician shortage of between 46,900 and 121,900 physicians by the year 2032.
Burnout is the primary cause for turnover in the healthcare industry. A staggering 55% of front-line health care workers report that they’re experiencing mental and physical exhaustion from chronic workplace stress. In addition, 62% of all health care workers report incurring some type of mental health repercussions from their work.
A healthcare agency’s quality of communication can have extreme consequences when patients’ lives are in the mix. This is particularly true during 2021, when healthcare agencies are experiencing massive turnover and new employees are continually moving to the frontline. Caring for patients needs to be a collaborative effort. New staff members need fast access to patient care charts. Equipping them with a clear task list that is digitized to work through that is also trackable in real-time across the organization can prevent life-threatening errors when they’re on the frontline.
Healthcare agencies that focus on digitally streamlining communication channels through an integrated app can make patient information accessible to the staff that needs it. This creates workforce wellbeing, since staff knows exactly what’s expected of them, how to complete the digitized tasks they’re assigned, and they’re able to communicate with management in real-time from anywhere on the treatment floor.
How can healthcare agencies build a sense of community among employees that work different shifts in different areas of the hospital? While it’s true that a nighttime travel nurse and an RN that sees patients in the morning may never cross paths, it’s still important that they’re able to coordinate patient records and care plans.
Mckinsey suggests that increasing workforce flexibility is key to retention in healthcare in 2021. “Insufficient staffing levels” were nurses’ biggest grievance with their employer this year. Of course, COVID exacerbated staffing issues. The pandemic created a healthcare workforce that’s exhausted, overworked, and highly stressed.
Integrated frontline task management and flexible scheduling can help nip stressful situations in the bud without management interference. Frontline workers can easily trade shifts based on their certifications, availability and skill level. This prevents burnout, since workers can take off of work when they really need it without involving their supervisors.
So, how can healthcare managers keep employees motivated? Implementing rewards and opportunities for advancement can help with healthcare employee retention when things get hectic. With easy access to employees’ certifications and skills, HR can better identify which employees are candidates for training, what certifications they have, and where they excel on the treatment floor. It also makes it easy to identify employees for recognition and praise.
WorkJam’s Frontline Digital Workplace solution integrates flexible scheduling, communication, training, and task management into a single streamlined app. Enabling employers to give healthcare workers as much control and direction as possible –– thereby reducing errors, increasing worker satisfaction, and improving retention over time.
About the author:
Steven Kramer, Chief Executive Officer
Steven is a technology entrepreneur with over 20 years of executive leadership experience in founding and scaling companies developing disruptive, enterprise-class technologies. In 1999, Steven co-founded iCongo, a leading global software provider for omni-channel retail and B2B commerce solutions, which merged with hybris Software in 2011 and became the largest independent provider of e-commerce solutions with 27 offices worldwide, 1000+ employees and more than 600 customers. Steven was part of the Executive Management team and Board Member at hybris. hybris Software was purchased by SAP in 2013. While working with companies on their omni-channel strategies, Steven identified a gap between traditional workforce management systems and how companies actually hire, schedule and manage their frontline employees. With this in mind, Steven co-founded WorkJam.
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