The healthcare industry is facing a significant staffing shortage, with healthcare organizations struggling to recruit and retain qualified workers across all levels and specialties.
Faced with healthcare staffing shortages across the country, it’s the question everyone’s asking: what’s causing the shortage and how can it be solved?
In this blog, we’ll explore the causes and consequences of the healthcare staffing shortage and discuss potential solutions to address this complex issue.
Use our valuable insights and guidance to help you navigate the challenges of the healthcare staffing shortage and ensure high-quality care for patients.
Why Is There a Shortage of Healthcare Workers?
All types of healthcare professionals are in short supply—including doctors, nurses, techs, and aides.
There are several factors contributing to healthcare staffing shortages. Here are some of the main reasons:
An Aging Population
As the baby boomer generation ages, the number of people over age 65 (currently 16% of the population) will surge to 21% this year. And, the aging population will require more medical care.
This means an increased demand for healthcare workers and support staff. The demographic shift has put a strain on the healthcare workforce, particularly in areas such as nursing and primary care. We’re already feeling the effects, and the strain is only going to increase.
Burnout and High Turnover
Healthcare workers, particularly nurses and physicians, are at high risk of burnout due to long hours, stressful work environments and high patient volumes. This increased demand on nursing staff and healthcare staff, in general, is affecting healthcare administration, with industry staff across the board being asked to do more and more.
An increased workload can lead to high turnover rates, making it difficult for organizations to maintain adequate staffing levels.
Difficulty Training and Onboarding New Staff
The training required to become a healthcare worker can be lengthy and expensive, which may deter some individuals from pursuing a career in healthcare. Plus, onboarding new employees is time-consuming for healthcare practices.
With a high turnover rate, medical practices can get stuck continuously onboarding new employees, taking precious time away from their core practice functions.
Generally, in the health system, there are limited opportunities for on-the-job training and career advancement, particularly in areas such as nursing and medical back-office-related professions.
Uneven Distribution of Healthcare Professionals
Rural and underserved areas often struggle to attract and retain healthcare workers due to a lack of resources, limited job opportunities and lower salaries compared to urban areas. This makes it harder to hire and retain top talent.
The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the healthcare workforce shortage by increasing demand for healthcare services, while also creating new challenges.
Due to the pandemic, there’s been a surge of increased burnout, concerns about safety and nurses leaving the public health industry altogether.
An estimated 1.5 million healthcare workers were lost in the first two months of the COVID-19 outbreak. Though many of those people have since returned, healthcare employment remains below pre-pandemic levels, with the number of workers down by 1.1%, or 176,000, compared to February 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Impacts of Healthcare Staffing Shortages
- Difficulty in recruiting and retaining staff: Medical practices are struggling to recruit and retain qualified healthcare workers, particularly in nursing, allied health and primary care roles. This can result in higher vacancy rates and longer wait times for patients.
- Increased workload for existing staff: Healthcare workers who remain in their roles may experience increased workloads and burnout due to staffing shortages. This can lead to decreased job satisfaction and quality of care, as well as higher turnover rates.
- Financial challenges: The staffing shortage can also create financial challenges for medical practices, particularly smaller practices that may not have the resources to offer competitive salaries or benefits to attract and retain staff.
- Quality of care concerns: The shortage of healthcare workers can impact the quality of care provided to patients. For example, longer wait times for appointments, rushed appointments or inadequate follow-up care can result in lower patient satisfaction and health outcomes.
- Increased use of temporary staffing and outsourcing: Medical practices may turn to temporary staffing or outsourcing to fill gaps in staffing. While this can provide short-term relief, it can also be costly and may not always result in high-quality care or a stable workforce.
How to Fix Healthcare Staffing Shortages
Unfortunately, there is no single solution. The shortage of healthcare workers is a complex issue that requires multi-faceted solutions.
Strategies such as increasing training opportunities, addressing burnout and turnover, and improving working conditions can help attract and retain healthcare workers, while investments in technology and innovation can help increase efficiency and productivity in healthcare delivery.
Advocate for Policy Changes
Healthcare organizations can advocate for policy changes that support the healthcare workforce. This can include increasing funding for workforce development programs, improving access to healthcare education and training, and addressing the root causes of the staffing shortage, such as the high cost of healthcare education and limited job opportunities in certain regions.
Embrace Technology and Innovation
Healthcare organizations can leverage technology and innovation to increase efficiency and productivity in healthcare delivery. For example, telemedicine can help extend the reach of healthcare services, while electronic health records can streamline administrative tasks and improve communication among healthcare providers.
Utilize Medical Support Staff Outsourcing
Outsourcing your back-office staff for administrative support can help your medical practice stay efficient and grow your practice.
With outsourced customer service representatives, medical billers and support staff, you can skip administration fees, added office expenses or any other unnecessary costs.
Keep full control of the work being done while your outsourcing partner provides the space, equipment and oversight. Enjoy smooth projects and successful results with experienced support staff.
The healthcare industry is currently facing a significant staffing shortage that is impacting medical practices, hospitals and other healthcare organizations across the country.
The shortage is particularly acute in critical areas such as nursing, primary care and allied health professions. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the staffing shortage, creating new challenges such as increased burnout and turnover, concerns about safety and disruptions to training and education programs.
As more and more practices turn to outsourcing, Solvo is on your side.
Medical Support Staff at All-In, Affordable, Monthly Costs
Your medical practice is growing, but you want to be smart about the way you do it. At Solvo, we can help. Avoid exorbitant labor expenses, while you take advantage of all-in costs with zero overhead. Plus, you’ll get a 30-day rolling contract with no cancellation fee.
We’re experts at hiring qualified talent, and when working with us, you won’t have to worry about rigid labor laws, hiring the right support staff and more. Stop struggling and start scaling with us.