Staff retention is at the forefront of leaders’ minds across many industries. The health care sector, however, faces a more urgent turnover crisis than most. As patient demands rise and more workers leave the industry, the need to increase retention nears unprecedented levels, but technology can help.
Roughly 50% of all medical professionals today report feeling burnt out. That burnout is severe enough to lead 41% of nurses and 32.6% of nonclinical staff to consider leaving their jobs. These levels are both higher than in other industries and have more severe consequences, as staff availability can impact patient care. Thankfully, technology can reduce this stress.
Automate Administrative Tasks
The most important way technology impacts staff retention is through automation. While many people think of automation as taking jobs away from people, in this scenario, it makes humans’ roles easier instead of replacing them.
Over 60% of health care professionals cite having too many bureaucratic tasks as their leading cause of burnout. More than one-third cite too many work hours. Consequently, if hospitals reduced their administrative burden through robotic process automation (RPA) and AI, they’d address the most significant causes of staff turnover.
Repetitive, data-heavy tasks like documentation, scheduling and data entry take a considerable amount of employees’ time and are not engaging. However, they’re also among the most easily automatable workflows. Assigning these tasks to RPA and AI solutions gives medical employees more time to spend on work they care more about, preventing burnout.
Similarly, new technologies can streamline regulatory compliance to give employees more time with patients. Tools like blockchain platforms and cloud computing offer easier, more efficient alternatives to traditional regulatory workflows so staff can adhere to industry standards without “click fatigue.”
Many professionals cite difficulty managing EHRs, and increasing cybersecurity risks and regulations may exacerbate these concerns. Because blockchains provide an immutable audit trail, enable easier collaboration and enact instant transactions, they’re a better alternative. Using a blockchain EHR management system lets doctors and nurses pull up or file records with less confusion and clicking, preventing EHR-related exhaustion.
Similarly, automated tools can analyse workflows and documents for potential regulatory issues to enable faster audits. That way, adhering to industry regulations doesn’t detract from time treating the patients these rules intend to protect.
Recognise and Reward Top Performers
Of course, burnout and turnover stem from more than just complicated workflows. Feeling unappreciated is another common reason behind staff churn, but technology can help address this issue, too.
Productivity tracking tools and cloud reporting platforms enable easier feedback loops about employee performance. Leaders can then point to hard data to identify top performers to publicly recognize and reward. These rewards can come in the form of cash bonuses, extra vacation time or similar incentives, which digital platforms also make easier to distribute.
This recognition is a seemingly small step but an impactful one. Studies find that health care workers are 3.9 times more likely to feel connected to their company culture if their organization recognizes teams’ good performance. Those feelings of connectedness translate into increased engagement, preventing turnover.
Enable Flexible Work
Flexible work arrangements can also help improve retention. When employees can work remotely, they tend to be more engaged, less stressed and even more productive. Enabling hybrid work has historically been impossible in the health care industry, but new technology changes that.
Telehealth platforms have gained popularity as a way to let patients seek remote care, but that remote access goes both ways. These tools also let medical professionals see and manage important patient information without having to be in the hospital or office. Cloud collaboration tools bring the same remote connectivity to internal business functions.
Not every health care workflow is possible to perform remotely, so creating a 100% remote medical workforce isn’t feasible. However, some employees can perform some of their work remotely, so creating space for hybrid work where possible will improve retention within the industry.
Optimise Hiring and Onboarding
Health care organisations can also improve staff retention before hiring even takes place. Better candidate selection processes can minimize the risks of turnover down the road, and technology provides the optimal path forward.
AI can parse resumes to find applicants or reach out to ideal candidates who haven’t applied to highlight people who are most likely to be a good fit for the company. By matching recruits to roles they’re more qualified for and more likely to enjoy, medical organizations can minimize burnout from a workplace failing to meet employees’ expectations.
AI recruiting and onboarding tools also shorten and ease the process. Long recruiting processes are the number one reason for negative hiring experiences, which hinder employee engagement in the long run. Consequently, by streamlining this phase with AI, health care businesses ensure they don’t promote turnover from the beginning.
Technology Is Crucial to Healthcare Staff Retention
The healthcare industry must address staff retention to meet patients’ needs and maintain productivity. To do that, it must embrace technologies like AI, RPA, blockchain and the cloud.
If medical organizations follow these steps, they can vastly improve employee management, preventing burnout and turnover. These measures may only be part of the path to improved healthcare staff retention, but they are important ones.
By Devin Partida, Rehack
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