As we close out 2021 and look to continue our work in the new year, I am reminded of how grateful I am to be in healthcare staffing. Across the country, Supplemental Health Care is making a difference everywhere care is delivered: in underserved communities, hospitals, healthcare facilities, homes, schools, and correctional facilities. Our teams are doing meaningful and significant work to ensure that patients across the country are receiving the care they need.
As we look to a new year, it is important to consider the trends that are shaping the future of healthcare and how we can meet new challenges with this understanding. I know SHC is not only capable of rising to face these challenges but proactively tackling them head on. Here are some of the latest trends that our teams are preparing for in 2022.
4 Healthcare Staffing Trends
Staff Leaving the Bedside
Although the need for healthcare services should hold steady in the coming year, we have already seen more healthcare professionals leaving the bedside, and even leaving healthcare altogether. While some states may be harder hit than others, a recent healthcare labor market report forecasts a growing severe nursing staff shortage over the next five years.
Additionally, a 2021 study of healthcare professionals from Vivian reported that the majority (87%) of respondents said their healthcare facility is still short-staffed and half (53%) of surveyed healthcare workers did not feel optimistic about the future of healthcare right now. According to this report, the prevailing themes amongst healthcare professionals are trends in decreased morale, increased work-related stress, and dissatisfaction with pay.
Now is the time for our industry to step up and focus on supporting our healthcare workers. Through our commitment to our Culture of Caring, SHC is doing just that. We strive to show our healthcare professionals and client partners that we truly care about them by celebrating their work and supporting their needs. Our industry also needs to back organizations and causes that focus on the challenges facing healthcare workers right now: staffing shortages, burnout, mental health concerns, safety, and retention. SHC has been privileged to work with philanthropic partners like Operation Happy Nurse and Hope Builders to address some of these concerns directly.
Alternative Care Options
On top of staffing shortages, access to care is another critical concern. To accommodate growing healthcare needs, care continues to move outside of the traditional hospital setting. The expansion of alternative care options includes home health care, hospital-at-home, telehealth, and the adoption of healthcare reciprocity between states, like the expansion of the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC).
In order to meet the increasing demand for care, SHC offers staffing solutions for healthcare delivery challenges with customizable MSP program options and dedicated divisions specializing in essential settings like home health, schools, corrections, and behavioral health. From rural communities to major cities, next-door and across the country, SHC will continue to offer expertise across the continuum of care as it continues to evolve.
Rise of Automation
While access to care is expanding through alternative care options, healthcare is also becoming more high-tech and on-demand with increased automation. With staffing shortages, it is more important than ever to make sure that patient care is the greatest priority. Automation can help eliminate administrative tasks and make care more accessible, which can also save providers and patients time.
Automated delivery of healthcare services has allowed companies like Uber to partner with health insurers to offer rides to providers and even facilitate prescription delivery. Similarly, Amazon is now offering Amazon Care, a virtual health service that allows for on-demand virtual visits paid for by employers.
At SHC, we are advancing a High Tech/High Touch approach to integrate new technologies into our work while still fostering the personal human connections that we pride ourselves on. 2022 will be a big year for us to further that goal and drive innovation in healthcare employment. With our new WeConnect app, we will empower healthcare professionals to have control of their careers in the palm of their hand.
Unfortunately, healthcare systems continue to be impacted by the pandemic, and despite many advancements and improvements, these challenges will continue into the new year. This year’s U.S. COVID-19 deaths have surpassed numbers from 2020, and with Delta and Omicron variants spreading through the country, it’s difficult to predict exactly what the next year will bring.
Although vaccinations and boosters are now widely available, some healthcare facilities are dropping vaccine mandates just to retain enough staff. Facilities have had to postpone elective surgeries once again to keep up with hospitalizations. The future year contains many uncertainties, but what we do know is that we must stay agile and adaptable to whatever comes.
With almost 40 years of healthcare staffing experience, SHC is uniquely qualified to support more than 100 skillsets to meet the growing demands and challenges of the healthcare sector. Under experienced leadership, our growing team has surpassed 600 internal employees to support these needs. We will continue to monitor the latest developments and focus our specialized divisions on shifting staffing demands across the country.
A New Year in Healthcare
After a difficult but rewarding year, I am inspired by our corporate team members, healthcare professionals, and client partners that have contributed so much during the last 12 months and beyond. SHC is a company driven by purpose, and we have committed to navigating through changes and challenges as a company to better serve the needs of our patients and communities across the country. There is no limit to what we are capable of as an organization. I am so proud of what we do together in healthcare and even more so for how we do it.