MRCS Weekly Recap 7 (3.13.2022 - 3.19.2022)

1. Staffing Shortages

Medical errors and device malfunctions have historically topped the list of safety concerns from the ECRI. Now, staffing shortages lead the way at number 1. At the same time, covid-19 effects on workers' mental Health, vaccine coverage gaps, and biases and racism round out the top four. Incredible Health surveyed over 2,500 nurses in February and found that over a third plan to leave their current job by this year. Almost half of doctors and nurses consider going in the next two to three years.

Hank Drummond from MedCity News outlined three actions we can take to help support nurses during this crucial time- appreciation, modernizing requirements, provide cross-training. Experts such as Drummond explain how hospitals can improve staff retention. If healthcare organizations cut down on pain points, prioritize staff well-being, and improve people management, they can boost retention. Another contributor to the rapid turnover is the growing percentage of millennials and Gen Zer's in the workforce. Many health systems allocate resources to wooing employees with higher salaries and benefits, paying 2-3 times the typical wage for in-house nurses to fill staffing gaps with traveling nurses. In the meantime, they are permanently shutting down services like labor delivery and emergency departments.

Experts say that this money should be used to invest in digital tools and transformation processes to extend the reach of care. Digital transformation is imperative to combat healthcare's labor crisis. Using technology and digital tools can help to solve workforce pain points. Finding less costly ways to combat staff attrition is significant for small, rural hospitals. Regardless of how money is spent, one thing is clear- management matters. People are more likely to stay with a manager they think is empathetic. "People will come for money. They will come for the benefits you provide, but what will retain them is that calling."

2. Practice Management Updates

Technology and tools are being used to streamline healthcare better. However, in a global survey from Elsevier Health, many doctors and nurses feel that telehealth could undermine their efforts to demonstrate empathy for patients. 56% of clinicians see their patients as more empowered than over the past ten years. However, 51% of providers feel that telehealth harms their ability to provide empathy for their patients. One of these telehealth features includes a chatbot. There are three primary things to consider when implanting a chatbot for your practice. The first is the quality of conversation engagement; the second is to listen to users actively; the third is to read between the lines.

Some other tools to consider include a new platform from Turquoise Health. This allows users to access price transparency between hospitals and providers. Hospitals receive a score based on an algorithm-driven five-star rating system where users can then compare based on the type of care they are searching for. Meanwhile, Athenahealth plans to release several new products this year, including a new patient-facing app focused on engagement and care management.

3. Key Trends

Home-based healthcare has been slow to gain widespread adoption. Hospital staff is mainly concerned about whether they can deliver the same quality of care in a patient's home as in the hospital. A few of the following technology trends could help redefine healthcare and provide more outstanding at-home care.

Trend 1: A burnout crisis among clinicians will create necessary workflow changes.

Trend 2: The global shortage of nurses will transform Clinical Documentation Improvement programs.

Trend 3: Strategic partnerships between vendors and health systems will emerge.

Trend 4: New AI use cases will continue to upend the norm.

4. COVID

While covid cases are going down, some experts warn that another covid spike may be on the horizon. These experts say that "we've been here before," so don't think it's over. In a study of 10,000 adults in six European countries, people bedridden by covid for at least a week were more likely to feel depressed or anxious 16 months after they developed Covid.

5. Policy Updates

The White House begs Congress for additional COVID relief funds with the Omicron sister variant concerns. Even after Congress agreed to provide $22.5 billion in funding last week. The Biden administration explained the implications of the pandemic if no more funding was provided. Meanwhile, Congress agreed to fully fund ARPA-H, the agency to help "end cancer as we know it." Experts say this will be a bumpy ride, but this shows considerable progress on one of Biden's signature sciences agenda initiatives.

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