The healthcare industry is always changing, from adopting new technologies to discovering different, better ways of approaching things, whether it is appointment scheduling or surgery. The COVID-19 pandemic had a large impact on all industries, especially healthcare.
Because of the pandemic, there were numerous changes organizations had to make and many challenges that had to be overcome, including supply shortages, a decline in demand for services and products, and government-mandated closures. To meet these challenges, healthcare industry solutions needed to be creative and resourceful.
The creative responses to some of these challenges have continued to stay in place because the pandemic highlighted new ways of doing things as society and businesses adapted to the next normal. Let’s take a look at three challenges and healthcare industry solutions in the post-pandemic world.
1. Availability of a Skilled Workforce
In a post-pandemic world, challenges have arisen in how the healthcare industry staffs and adapts to staffing needs. Because many people decided to pursue other avenues, such as staying at home with their children or working remotely, there was a large demand for staff. However, with the number of staff members that needed to be hired, how do you find that many people with healthcare experience?
One way to get creative with staffing issues is to broaden the applicant pool by also looking for individuals without healthcare experience. Vision Integrated Partners (VIP) met staffing challenges by training those who were a culture and personality fit but lacked healthcare experience. We focused on applicants’ passion to help others, knowing that we could provide in-depth training to help them be successful, and implemented a working interview into our interview process.
With permission from the patient, we then allowed applicants to shadow team members to see the job and role in action. Once we recruited new hires, we implemented a 3-5-five day training course to teach our new hires everything about their new role, including certification and advancement opportunities as well as where they could take their new career in the future.
Today, we’re constantly reassessing salaries and benefits to meet demand. We also focus on maintaining a family atmosphere across our practices and ambulatory surgery centers and have committed to supporting our employees before, during, and after the pandemic. For example, government-mandated closures across our practices and surgery centers were a significant challenge. Even though some of our practices were unable to be open, we kept benefits active to continue investing in our employees and their own healthcare.
Looking toward the future of ophthalmology staffing needs, there’s also going to be demand for significantly more surgeons. In light of the aging baby boomer population, more surgeons will be needed—especially those who are experienced with advanced technology—to handle the growing number of individuals requiring cataract surgery.
2. Implementing New Technology
Technology is constantly evolving, and throughout the pandemic, it rapidly changed and was used for different purposes to meet the demand of patients. For example, instead of waiting for the appointment to collect health history, the health history packet is sent to the patient to fill out and mail back or bring to the appointment. Appointment reminders or pre-check-in information is quickly done through text or phone.
Gathering information such as demographics, the reason for the visit, medication, insurance, and preferences can slow down the appointment. However, collecting this information in advance helps the appointment run smoother for staff members, doctors, and patients and helps when the practice or ambulatory surgery center is short-staffed.
Additionally, when technology breaks and there are supply chain issues, healthcare industry solutions need to be creative and resourceful, and practices or surgery centers need to network to supply items. For example, if equipment isn’t being utilized at a certain practice, but a different practice across the country needs it, team members will transfer the equipment.
In the past, businesses may not have communicated, but now—in addition to sharing costly equipment if it’s going unused—they share knowledge such as best practices and workshops. This allows for faster, better decisions.
3. Financial Limitations
There are a number of financial limitations that are straining the healthcare industry. The cost of operating a business has increased, and businesses are feeling the effects of additional budgetary and funding constraints.
These constraints are making it difficult to achieve innovative and transformative goals, especially as the demand for healthcare increases due to the expanding aging population and increase in chronic conditions. Additionally, reduced payments and reimbursements are putting more pressure on medical practices to become more efficient.
Addressing these financial limitations include networking to share items that may not be in use at another practice, potentially saving thousands of dollars, and expediting patient appointments by collecting information ahead of time that may slow down the appointment.
Interested in working in the medical field?
Working in healthcare has many benefits, including the rewarding work that is done by helping others. No two days or cases are the same, and VIP is always ready to meet any challenges that arise. Interested in a rewarding career path? Our practices and ambulatory surgery centers are actively hiring!