The COVID-19 pandemic caused a domino effect that led to medical staff shortages across the healthcare industry and experts suggest these shortages could last throughout 2022. The good news is that technology like advanced remote patient monitoring systems can help close the gap caused by staffing shortages.
Patients who participate in remote health monitoring are more engaged in their care and may help offset staff shortages by needing less in-person care. This helps medical offices, urgent care centers, and hospitals.
Why are there staff shortages in the healthcare industry?
One study reports that 73% of medical practices list staffing shortages as their primary concern going into 2022. The COVID-19 pandemic is far from over, and its impacts on medical staffing are just beginning.
The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) estimates that America will experience a shortage of 37,800 to 124,000 physicians by the year 2034. This shortage isn’t limited to medical practices or hospitals, and experts anticipate that there will be widespread impacts.
When the FDA authorized approval of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine in August, more medical practices mandated the vaccine as a condition of employment. Some medical professionals are voluntarily leaving positions as a result of the mandate.
Many physicians are retiring early as COVID-19 places a strain on medical practices. For older physicians nearing retirement age, the current state of the healthcare industry can be challenging. Even younger physicians are leaving medicine altogether to pursue other career paths.
The job market is competitive right now, and lower-wage support positions are experiencing employee turnover. Many medical support staff members are seeking less stressful jobs that pay the same, if not more. Hospitals and medical offices are faced with having to pay more, offer sign-on incentives, and work to recruit talent for their positions.
As a physician or office manager, you may be looking for other ways to streamline care without hitting your bottom line. In many cases, an investment in remote health monitoring systems and wearable health monitoring devices is a smarter move than increasing wages.
In the meantime, all of the above factors are leading to medical staff feeling burned out. The vaccine is polarizing, and so employees for and against the mandate all feel added pressure. As physicians retire and other employees leave their roles for other jobs, the remaining staff fill in the gaps.
They have to work longer hours and do more in the same amount of time—and that’s not always possible. Home health monitoring devices alleviate some of the stress that nurses and other office staff feel. Patients are in control of their health and many aspects of patient care transition online.
What are the impacts of staff shortages on patient care?
Patient care is suffering as a result of the staff shortage. Physicians and nurses are stressed and overworked, so the quality of care may be down. While the medical staff is doing their best, there are only so many hours in a day.
This burnout is creating a negative cycle in staffing as more people leave the medical field because of stress. As more professionals leave, the workload continues increasing for those remaining and patients are often paying the price.
At the same time, physicians may not have as many available appointments for patients to get in-office visits. This leads more patients to seek out help from urgent care centers and hospitals. Wait times may be higher, and care may seem rushed as physicians and nurses struggle to keep up with the volume of patients. Many voluntary procedures get postponed because physicians need to prioritize the most pressing medical needs.
How is telehealth making a positive impact on medical offices amid staff shortages?
Remote patient monitoring solutions offer a way for physicians to alleviate some impacts of staffing shortages. Investing in a remote patient monitoring system helps by:
- Offering patients the chance to use health monitoring devices (RPM devices) for checking vital signs.
- Empowering patients to stay better connected to your practice without the need for in-person visits.
- Saving time over a traditional office visit because remote patient monitoring services are often more efficient.
- Alleviating some of the load that nurses and other office staff carry by streamlining care appointments.
There’s no question that staff shortages are impacting medical offices now and will do so for the next 18 months. As a physician or office manager, you may even have to plan on staff shortages for years to come based on expert predictions. In the midst of this challenging time, you can also think proactively and invest in technology like a remote health monitoring system that fills in the gaps left by staff shortages.
The RPM experts at Coachcare can help you seamlessly integrate a telehealth system into your office and have the system running in as little as two weeks. Schedule a demo today to see exactly how it works!