Innovative Ways to Reduce Workload for Your Healthcare Teams

The healthcare workforce shortage is taking a toll across the continuum of care, impacting medical staff and healthcare organizations as well as patients and caregivers. The increased focus on value-based care, though a worthwhile initiative, adds additional strain. To combat the effects of staff, nursing, and physician shortages and to meet quality of care expectations, leaders who think beyond the crisis will be equipped for growth.

2022 U.S. Nursing Shortage Statistics

Though nursing is only one area of the healthcare workforce feeling strain, this 2022 analysis of the U.S. nursing workforce in Health Affairs sheds light on the severity of the problem from a nursing shortage perspective.

  • Until 2020, the number of RNs per capita was on the rise, reaching 100 RNs per 10,000 residents
  • For various reasons, the RN workforce plateaued during the first 15 months of the pandemic
  • In 2021, the total supply of RNs decreased by more than 100,000 in one year—a far greater drop than ever observed over the past four decades
  • The majority of those exiting the nursing workforce were 49 years of age and under

A sustained lack of interest in the field would have negative consequences for at least a generation of people, especially considering that, in addition to the nursing shortage, the number of physicians per capita in the U.S. is already among the lowest compared to other Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries.

These facts solidify the need for solutions to the nursing shortage by optimizing the use of our healthcare workforce. Significant change is necessary to reduce employee burnout, increase organizational morale, improve all facets of client care, and realize the overall desired results. The investment of time and resources required to put these solutions in place are greatly outweighed by the long-term benefits they provide. Here, we’ll look at several solutions to bolster your future healthcare workforce, many of which could also improve patient outcomes and employee retention rates.

Innovative Solutions to Address Medical Staff, Physician, & Nursing Shortages

Technology Solutions for Workforce Shortages in Healthcare

With the help of innovations such as tech automations, improved electronic filing systems, and updated software, daily workload for medical staff, nurses, and physicians can be significantly reduced whether in the hospital or post-acute setting.

Explore these healthcare workforce solutions that leverage technology:

  • Utilizing digital forms to collect patient information
  • Implementing online self-scheduling for nursing staff
  • Offering online scheduling for patients
  • Offering automated check-ins for patients
  • Utilizing integrated data tools such as speech dictation and electronic health record short cuts and macros
  • Using digital drug and supply inventory
  • Using a healthcare learning management system (LMS) to provide continued education, training, and accreditation to employees
  • Implementing machine learning and predictive modeling

You might consider developing a custom application to put these components in place. Another option would be to adapt current technologies to incorporate additional functionality or programs to integrate existing technologies seamlessly with each other.

Process Improvements to Address Healthcare Staffing Shortages

Streamlining workflows and patient touch points is a great way to reduce workload and relieve some strain from your over-taxed workforce. Evaluating processes can uncover areas where duplicate work can be eliminated, communication improved, or patient interactions refined. It’s all about eliminating excess and creating ease of work.

Explore these process improvements that reduce workload and address the nursing staff shortage:

  • Designing adaptable rooms to reduce patient transfers
  • Utilizing remote patient monitoring
  • Analyzing and overhauling patient schedule and flow
  • Using clinical data to understand how processes impact patient outcomes

The goal is to organize, align, and automate your processes and workflows, freeing up staff, physicians, and nurses to focus on providing patients with a high quality of care. Maximizing efficiency in key areas can increase employee and patient satisfaction while putting components in place for future growth and, possibly, even realizing significant savings.

Case Study: Healthcare Workforce Optimization

InfoWorks completed a healthcare consulting services project that provides a nice example of how streamlining processes can reduce workload and enable teams to succeed. We were contracted to evaluate and redesign a department’s functions in order to align with industry standards and organizational business goals. The end result provided the client with a more efficient onboarding process and enabled the department to align with industry standards and meet internal goals.

Embrace the Opportunity

We’ll shoot it straight – it’s overwhelming. All of it. The healthcare component, the nursing shortage, thus the recruiting endeavors, and the endless attempt at keeping the patient quality of care at an A+ on the grade scale.

The good news? Great advancements typically arise from great need. Instead of looking at the current staffing challenges in healthcare as an obstacle, try embracing the opportunity. You might just be surprised by the success that follows.

Need some additional support? As a healthcare consulting firm, InfoWorks’ business strategy consultants partner with healthcare organizations to identify and implement technology and process improvement strategies to solve workforce challenges. Get in touch to learn more.

About Laura Buchanan MBA, BSN, RN

Ms. Buchanan is a Registered Nurse (RN) with 39 years of professional experience. She serves as a director with a focus on technology projects utilizing her clinical, management, business, and technical consulting experience. She has extensive experience with clinical transformation, workflow analysis, process design, vetting software options, data analysis, and implementing EHR systems.​

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