One of the top news stories as of late has been “the Great Resignation,” a term coined to describe record numbers of employees willingly leaving their jobs in the masses. Few industries were hit as hard as healthcare, which has lost as many as 551,000 employees per month in 2022. While employees have their own personal reasons for leaving jobs, factors such as burnout and lack of job satisfaction are among the main contributors to healthcare employees leaving the field.
Connecticut hasn’t been safe from healthcare staffing shortages, with some hospitals having dozens of vacancies or running at half capacity or less. However, the state has ramped up its hiring efforts and will be launching a trio of programs to provide free training to candidates who could qualify for higher paying jobs in healthcare, manufacturing, information technology, and other industries.
Nationally, healthcare staffing shortages are now the top patient safety concern, according to ECRI, a nonprofit patient safety organization. In order to mitigate the challenges posed by the lack of employees, hospitals and other healthcare organizations need to focus on prioritizing recruitment and employee retention in the new year.
Here are three healthcare job trends to look forward to in 2023:
1. Continued remote or hybrid work models
With many healthcare organizations turning to virtual or telehealth visits in lieu of in-person visits for the last two years, the pandemic has also proven that certain essential roles—such as patient intake and medical records management—can also be done from home.
According to a 2022 MGMA poll, 59% of medical practices transitioned to permanent remote or hybrid settings in the past year. One respondent noted that nearly all staff in non-patient facing roles requested hybrid schedules, while staff in patient-facing roles were able to do telehealth visits in inclement weather to avoid having to turn patients away.
Some of the benefits of remote work include:
- Reduced overhead costs
- Retaining skilled employees while widening the talent pool
- Improving work performance and productivity
Removing physical location as a requirement for provider candidacy allows healthcare organizations to hire qualified workers from out of state, which can be especially beneficial for practices in rural or underserved areas that often have trouble attracting talent. This also allows patients to access medical services they may not have been able to get before, especially specialty care.
Remote work has the added benefit of reducing burnout which has long plagued healthcare employees, even prior to the pandemic. In a report by Catalyst, a global nonprofit, employees whose jobs offered remote work options reported decreased experiences of all three types of burnout—workplace, COVID-19 related workplace, and personal—compared to those whose employers did not offer remote work.
2. AI adoption
AI is seeing tremendous adoption in a number of industries, and healthcare is no exception. One of the benefits of AI is that it can automate administrative tasks that often take up much of healthcare employees’ time. Considering that administrative burden is a major contributor to physician burnout, being able to offload some of those tasks can help improve physician job satisfaction and, ultimately, retention.
Some of the tasks AI can help with include patient record maintenance and insurance pre-authorization. These routine tasks allow physicians to spend more time focusing on their patients and less time in the EHR. One study found that physicians spend over 16 minutes on EHRs for each patient visit, although that number can vary based on the specialty. Doctors also spent 11% of their time on EHRs after hours.
Not only can AI be a valuable tool that helps healthcare employees perform their jobs more efficiently, but it can also deliver personalized healthcare to patients. Disease management plans that are tailored to the individual patient using their personal risk factors, social determinants of health (SDOH), and other factors can provide patients with more effective treatment plans or potentially prevent the onset of certain diseases.
3. Prioritizing employee wellness
Part of the reason so many employees have left their jobs in the past couple of years is that they have had a negative impact on their health and well-being. If healthcare organizations want to attract and retain employees in 2023, they will have to prioritize their wellness. In a survey conducted by Business Group on Health, 65% of employers reported that employee health and well-being were pivotal, compared to 27% of employers five years ago. That means more healthcare organizations will likely be investing in health and well-being initiatives in 2023 than they have in recent years.
For these initiatives to be successful, employers have to consider how they will affect different types of employees, such as those with disabilities. Female employees may benefit from fertility services, and organizations should also ensure that their healthcare benefits are inclusive of transgender employees.
Find new healthcare opportunities in 2023
The COVID-19 pandemic has shed light on the many ways healthcare employers can improve employee recruitment and retention. Going into 2023, companies that effectively implement remote work, AI, and employee wellness initiatives will have a better chance of gaining and keeping top talent.
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