The health sector, like many others, has experienced significant disruptions due to the pandemic and the so-called “Great Resignation”.
While at the forefront battling coronavirus exposure, health professionals experienced stress and burnout like never before. A study from Edith Cowen University (ECU), conducted during the first wave of COVID-19 in Australia, found that three-quarters of respondents struggled with work commitments and the risk of infecting themselves and their families, and 42% were less willing to work than they were. before the outbreak.1
Since the pandemic is in its third year, the healthcare sector and its workforce are under constant stress and pressure, and many employees are reconsidering their future in the industry. However, despite the challenges, the sector can also identify and seize new opportunities.
For example, government studies show that employment in industry has increased by 22% over the past five years with further projected growth of 14% by 2025.2 This is due to the recruitment of new employees as well as the return of former employees to previous roles. However, fluctuations in the amount of labor make health care increasingly competitive. Therefore, providing great experience to employees is very important for healthcare organizations that seek to attract and retain good talent.
Technology can help provide a better experience for healthcare professionals, especially when it comes to staff optimization. Many healthcare organizations are turning to smart planning decisions to help reduce the risks of overtime and burnout.
There are four ways to plan wisely that can help healthcare organizations optimize their operations by helping to recruit and retain valuable talent:
1. Optimized schedule
Different areas in the health sector have unique requirements when it comes to planning. For example, complex and dynamic conditions, such as emergency departments or surgical wards, may require constant restructuring of resources according to demand, while general practice clinics may be more static. By deploying a solution for automated planning, healthcare organizations can ensure that they assign the right people with the right skills to the right shift at the right time.
Having real-time visibility on attendance and performance data means that leaders can turn quickly to ensure staffing levels meet patient needs in a cost-effective way, while eliminating time-consuming manual listing. By using a solution for automated scheduling, managers more effectively manage staff changes in real time and quickly balance staff levels based on coverage and workloads.
2. Overtime control
It goes without saying that excessive overtime can harm the health and well-being of any worker, and especially those working in health care, as fatigue and burnout can filter out and ultimately lead to reduced quality of care provided to patients. It is important that healthcare organizations implement solutions that help them better manage overtime.
Using automated planning solutions, health organizations can create lists that reduce surplus and shortage of staff, as well as cases of unplanned overtime. Smart planning decisions can take into account expected patient demand in conjunction with company policies and regulations, helping to more accurately anticipate the needs of each change and reduce fatigue and excessive overtime.
3. Effective change management
Changing changes can be a cumbersome process, especially for industries such as healthcare that require round-the-clock support. However, experienced healthcare organizations are increasingly investing in technology solutions that use artificial intelligence (AI) and employee self-care capabilities to automate routine, time-consuming processes such as time off or requests for change.
Using digital solutions to automate this process can eliminate the need for healthcare professionals and managers to call other potential employees to highlight changes when an employee is unavailable, especially when changes are required at the last minute. Solutions that open up change to the wider workforce also ensure that change can be filled immediately by those who want it, without breaking the requirements.
4. Automate and access additional benefits
Improving change management, scheduling and overtime can help support the work of health professionals by combating dissatisfaction that forces workers to look elsewhere. Healthcare professionals can also provide improved quality of care to patients if control measures are put in place to reduce fatigue or burnout. If healthcare organizations fail to do so, they risk losing talented, committed employees, which will affect both the effectiveness of their health care and their profits.
To mitigate these risks, healthcare organizations should consider investing in digital solutions that optimize and automate workforce management. This includes solutions that: empower and engage healthcare professionals with self-care features available from anywhere and on any device; use mobile tools and self-service to simplify vacations and change requests; and automate policies and processes to ensure consistency across the organization.
2. https://lmip.gov.au/default.aspx?LMIP/GainInsights/IndustryInformation/HealthCareandSocialAssistance#:~:text=Health%20Care%20and%20Social%20Assistance%20employs%20approximate%20approximate%20approximate%20approximate%20 (ABS, increased by 20% to 2022.8% to 20%