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Staffing shortages pose risks to health care organizations, execs say


Industry looks to digital and automation tools to overcome challenge

Doctors displaying staff shortage sign ©RioPatuca Images-stock.adobe.com

©RioPatuca Images-stock.adobe.com

Finding and retaining talented employees has become a major challenge for all sectors of the economy in recent years, but nowhere more than in health care, a new study finds.

In the August Pulse survey from accounting and management consulting firm PwC, 82% of health care industry executives called attracting and retaining talent a “moderate” or “severe” risk to their business, compared to 71% of executives surveyed overall. The health care executives named burnout, stress and the aging clinician workforce as major contributors to the lack of staffing.

The staffing shortage, along with waste and redundancy, will contribute to the 7% increase in medical costs for 2024 PwC predicts in a separate report. Those cost increases, in turn, will cause hospitals to seek higher reimbursements from payers. PwC predicts a 7% increase in medical costs for 2024.

The industry is trying to meet the challenge by rethinking its workforce and business models, according to PwC. Health care organizations are implementing innovations such as developing their own schools for clinical staff training and development, redefining the care team model, and using digital and automation tools to improve productivity.

In addition, the firm says, organizations are investing in artificial intelligence and digital approaches to care delivery, such as telemedicine, that require fewer on-site resources. They are also looking to tech-led collaborations to enable more efficient ways of diagnosing and treating patients, such as at-home blood tests, telepathology, medical imaging and data repositories.

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