It’s not just hospitals that have to make plans for the coming year. As our health care system deals with physician, nursing, and other workforce shortages, combined with a growing gap in access to preventative care, all health care organizations need to strategize for 2022.
As you contemplate your strategic direction for the year ahead, four areas stand at the forefront: forecasting and surge management, organizational infrastructure, resource availability, and technology use.
Forecasting & Surge Management
COVID-19 variants like Delta and Omicron have made it difficult for organizations to forecast provider staffing needs and prioritize markets accurately. However, given the provider shortage, plus the fact that everyone is looking for the same clinicians, it’s essential for organizations to start planning early, at least 12 to 18 months out, and initiate recruiting efforts early and often.
“It’s important to start planning ahead around how you’re going to recruit in the current market and whom you’re going to target,” said Juan Soto, Vice President of Alternative Delivery for SCP Health.
According to Soto, it’s less the COVID variants, and more the surges that follow that make forecasting a guessing game.
“It’s difficult to say, ‘I will need X number of clinicians over the course of the year in state A or state B’ because that can change rapidly,” he said. “Today, you need 50, and then next week you need 10, and 100 the week after that. Demand trends are all over the place. Organizations have to be agile to adjust for the unknown.”
Current & Future Staff Organizational Infrastructure
As the volume of need for health care providers in communities increases, organizational infrastructure becomes an all-important consideration. Many health care organizations need extra administrative and management support to oversee patient volume effectively.
“Regardless of the number of providers available, without the appropriate infrastructure in place, the ability to manage efficiently becomes difficult,” Soto said.
Scheduling assistance is an infrastructure-related issue necessary to improve patient care continuity and quality. Efficient scheduling helps reduce patient wait times and eliminates a system where just whoever is available sees the patient.
The telehealth sector is a good example. During the pandemic, virtual health services exploded, providing patients with a safer and more convenient care option.
“When it comes to all of these encounters, patients utilizing telehealth or coming in person, you need to have an effective structure in place,” he said. “Take the overnight shift. Do you have a team in place for any telehealth visits that come in the middle of the night? You want to ensure the right clinicians are available to provide exceptional care, no matter the time.”
Related Resource: What to Look for in a Staffing Operations Partner
Resource Availability Versus Volume
Health care organizations are experiencing increased pressure to grow exponentially (e.g., 50 percent or greater increases year over year).
When investors provide financial capital to expedite growth, outsourcing resources and support becomes imperative, particularly when working to meet strict growth timelines.
“The challenge in many cases is that demand volume has considerably outpaced organizations’ internal resources,” Soto remarked. “Many simply cannot scale up or down quickly enough without causing disruption. Outsourced support can help the internal teams efficiently manage onboarding, credentialing, licensing, and so forth.”
In some cases, organizations may lack the technological infrastructure to achieve their goals. Some—even large retail health outlets—are utilizing inefficient processes and procedures to track critical elements such as applicants, credentials, payments, and other key performance indicators
One of the keys to adapting to growth and significant market changes is having technology tools that support streamlined communications and operational processes. Investing in these tools, or working with a partner who does, can make a remarkable difference in practice readiness.
Staffing Operations Outsourcing Can Alleviate Strategic Issues
As the health care ecosystem expands and the demand for services increases, recruiting, managing enrollment, onboarding, and credentialing become more vital. Finding the right staffing operations partner can help alleviate the strain by driving efficiencies and managing growth expectations.
SCP Health’s clinical staffing and workforce optimization solutions help clients adapt, grow, and excel clinically through recruiting, scheduling, enrolling, credentialing, and deploying clinicians in various specialties, powered by their proprietary mySCP suite of mobile and desktop applications.
Contact our business development department to learn how we can help your organization meet staffing operations challenges in 2022 and provide the strategic insights and expertise you need to manage growth more effectively.