As a doctor and former hospital CEO, I’ve seen first-hand how much the staff experience alone can directly impact the performance and future success of a healthcare facility, irrespective of size or location. I’m also keenly aware of how the staff experience impacts on patient experience. At a recent medical appointment, the doctor was so preoccupied with his heavy workload and administrative burden that it allowed little time for him to respond to my own concerns and questions.
In fact, on a daily basis I’ve seen how poor staff experiences have severely impacted industry job satisfaction and productivity, and dampened the appetite for young people to choose a long-term career in medicine. Of course, the pressures of the pandemic have only exacerbated issues with the staff experience, which is why the industry is now at crisis point. The worst part is, these negative staff consequences can also mean negative consequences for quality of care, while affecting clinicians’ ability to deliver compassionate care.
With the sector now facing a significant 15 million labor shortfall by 2030 – with a corresponding impact on quality of care – improving the staff experience has finally become a top priority for today’s leaders. This is good news of course, but it’s also news that’s long overdue. The question is, how are leaders actually planning to address it?
Between the almost 3000 healthcare leaders we surveyed across 15 countries in putting together this year’s Future Health Index 2022 Report, the answer is three-fold:
- First, leaders plan to ramp up training in digital technologies, helping staff feel less overwhelmed by increasingly data-centric processes, and more ready to embrace new, digitally focused responsibilities and ways of working.
- Second, leaders plan to simplify staff workflows and reduce burnout through AI-based automation. For example, touchless patient-sensing technology is being used in some facilities to simplify the process for magnetic-resonance (MR) imaging.
- Third, leaders plan to help staff make faster, more informed decisions by enabling relevant insights at the point of care. For example, some are investing in telemonitoring platforms that gather data on patients’ vital signs remotely, transforming this data into actionable insights that can be delivered to clinicians in real time, so they can intervene earlier, or start dialogues with the most at-risk patients, increasing patients’ ability to self-care from home.
All three of these initiatives are positive and forward-thinking steps that will no doubt aid in improving the staff experience (in many cases they are already), and I’m extremely glad to see today’s healthcare leaders embracing them so readily. However, the quality of the staff experience in the long-term will depend most heavily on the successful coordination of governments, regulators and the industry as a whole, whose collaboration is critical for improving working conditions across the board. So while I’m cautiously optimistic about the progress healthcare leaders are making in addressing their top priority for this year, I also want to hold the wider industry to account in ensuring success.