A healthcare staffing crisis
The U.S. currently faces a shortage of healthcare professionals to deliver much-needed care to patients across the country. Retiring physicians, an aging population, and limited capacity in education and training all contribute to the problem. As a result, more than 98 million Americans now live in an area that has a shortage of primary care health professionals. And it’s a problem that won’t be solved anytime soon as the shortfall of physicians is expected to be between 37,800 and 124,000 by 2034.
Healthcare staffing challenges ahead
of hospital CEOs said nursing shortages are their most pressing workforce challenge
potential physician shortage forecast of 124K by 2034
of nursing homes report moderate to high staffing shortages
The nursing shortage is also a huge cause for concern. In fact, 90% of hospital CEOs said nursing shortages are their most pressing workforce challenge. During the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare professionals across the board, but especially nurses, experienced high levels of stress and burnout. After the peak of the pandemic passed, many either reduced their work hours or left the healthcare profession entirely. And that trend shows no sign of abating. In fact, research from March 2023 found that 40% of inpatient registered nurses said that they may leave their current job in the next year, an increase from 35% who gave that answer in fall 2022.
Strategies for managing employee shortages
Solving the healthcare staffing crisis will require effort from both government organizations and private businesses.
On the government side, federal, state, and local agencies can play a critical role in reducing staffing shortages. For example, the federal government can raise the Medicaid reimbursement rate for nursing homes and increase Medicare-supported medical residency slots, which would make it possible to add staff.
At the state level, more investment in training and education could help increase the number of openings for new students. Also at the state level, many states have laws that require nurse practitioners to practice under the authority of a physician. Giving nurse practitioners full authority to act on their own would help fill staffing gaps.
Other healthcare staffing challenges can be better solved by businesses. Tasks like recruiting and hiring healthcare staff can be handled by a medical remote staffing partner. Such a partner could help healthcare providers tap into onshore, nearshore, and offshore U.S.-licensed nurses, pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and telehealth staff to fill open positions.
Businesses can also increase their focus on staff retention. Signing bonuses and offering competitive salaries are a great start, but more is needed to retain top talent. Over the short term, providers should consider improving the workforce experience by recognizing outstanding staff performance and contributions more often, while involving staff in important decisions. Longer-term efforts could include offering more flexible hours to ease burnout and lowering patient-to-staff ratios, in addition to better pay and benefits.
Another solution is to make it easier for employees to focus on providing care instead of completing paperwork. Healthcare professionals often spend too much time completing clerical and administrative tasks. In fact, one study discovered that clinicians spend 5.9 hours of an 11.4-hour workday in an electronic health record (EHR) system. Outsourcing duties like customer service, member data management, provider data management, and revenue cycle management can help reduce staff workload.
Partnering with Ubiquity to solve healthcare staffing shortages
Ubiquity can work with you to develop strategies for managing employee shortages. We’ll serve as your single-source partner to support all aspects of your patient, provider, and administrative operations. We can help with recruiting U.S.-licensed nurses, pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and telehealth staff. We can also relieve administrative burdens through services such as appointment scheduling, adherence outreach, medical billing, claims processing, and much more.
See how Ubiquity can help solve your healthcare staffing shortages and deliver personalized patient experiences.