Healthcare organizations face a variety of staffing challenges. As a result of an ongoing physician shortage, the market for the best talent has become increasingly more competitive. Other staffing challenges include difficulty in filling job vacancies, expansions, and mergers. Staffing challenges may impact healthcare systems in many different ways, leading to lost revenue, a higher workload for existing staff members, poor patient experiences, and more. Below are some strategies that hospitals and other healthcare facilities can use to overcome staffing challenges and boost profitability.
Many businesses searching for qualified candidates find an undersupply of workers due to the low unemployment numbers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says the unemployment rate so far in 2021 is about 6%, an 18-year low. The job market is roaring back from the historic lows of the pandemic (14.8%) unemployment, which means it is a job-seekers market.
The nature of the work physicians do — helping people overcome illnesses, managing chronic conditions, and even saving lives — is perhaps the most significant source of job satisfaction among providers. But the role they play is a double-edged sword. Physicians must live with the psychological consequences of not being able to help people heal. A physician may witness one or more patients die during their shift, yet must return to work ready to provide the same high-quality care whether they are emotionally or mentally prepared to do so.
Consider the fact that, according to Forbes, high performers are as much as 800% more productive than their colleagues. And they cost the same as any other employee.
The COVID-19 pandemic placed an unprecedented amount of stress on systems across all sectors, but no industry was tested more than healthcare. Once the U.S. government declared a national emergency, all non-essential procedures were halted. Although the number of critical care patients increased, the number of patients undergoing elective procedures decreased causing hospitals and provider groups to experience financial hardship. Meanwhile, the circumstances called for some adaptation on the part of staff members. Facilities called in clinicians across all disciplines to help care for COVID-19 patients.
When a healthcare organization is staffing its facility, it's of the utmost importance to identify skilled, proficient, and ethical candidates. Talented healthcare providers lead to better patient outcomes, and providers with integrity tend to act ethically and honorably, even if they make a mistake.
There are numerous ways to evaluate each candidate when filling open positions for physicians. Experience weighs heavily during the process, as does their performance during multiple rounds of interviews. But there's another area hiring managers can use to determine whether a candidate will be a good fit in the organization: the skills they bring to the table.
Misinformation continues to surround the use of the Q6 modifier, or the billing for services provided by a locum tenens physician, resulting in mistakes that prove costly or even detrimental to practices, as they may result in audits or further disciplinary action.
Increasing productivity at a hospital is no small undertaking - especially given the current physician shortage impacting the healthcare industry. If there are too few clinicians available to treat patients, morale sinks, which negatively impacts productivity. But if the supply of clinicians exceeds demand, the resulting inefficiency can erode already-thin profit margins.
Patient satisfaction is inextricably linked to the financial stability of a healthcare organization. Patients have learned that they have choices in selecting their providers and have developed a low tolerance for service that does not meet their expectations.
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About VISTA Staffing Solutions
At VISTA we’re dedicated to being our clients’ strategic workforce optimization partner. With our deep industry expertise and exclusive locums MSP technology, we help health systems, hospitals, practices, and government entities build and sustain effective workforce models that ensure patient access to care and organizational stability. Covering more than 60 specialties, we staff physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants to help our clients preserve revenue and maintain profitability.