Thought Leadership

Strategic Partnerships and Outsourcing to Confront Labor Shortages

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As the onslaught of COVID-19 persists into a yet another calendar year, the healthcare sector remains entrenched in economic pressure. The Great Resignation of 2021 saw record numbers of people quitting their jobs amid the pandemic, with a whopping 4.5 million US workers resigning in November alone.1 According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, healthcare and social assistance workers demonstrated the second highest quit rate across all industries.

Labor scarcity ignites major economic ripple effects for healthcare sector

Given these nationwide labor shortages, hospitals are taking sweeping measures to attract and retain talent – offering incentives like higher wages, enhanced benefits packages, and substantial signing bonuses. Competition for qualified healthcare workers is fierce, and labor costs continue to soar even as staffing levels linger well below average.

Moreover, insufficient revenue growth cannot support rising labor expenses, leaving many facilities with gravely narrow margins on top of employee burnout and heavy turnover. In fact, the scarcity of workers has forced some healthcare providers to cut back on scheduled patient admissions – a damaging course of action that clearly precipitates lost revenue.

Having recently navigated through the spread of the delta variant only exacerbates the challenges hospitals continue to face. As the highly contagious omicron variant surges, pandemic-induced stress remains a potent threat throughout the healthcare industry. With the notion of more sustained economic turmoil, it’s time to take reasonable action now to bolster your hospital or healthcare organization’s revenue cycle.

Take action with modern technology

The key is to embrace the latest technology, starting with the virtualization of the workspace. Job seekers are no longer restricted to local opportunities and are wisely exploring remote openings across the country. Are you equipped to seek, hire, and onboard new employees in a remote environment? Recruitment and talent acquisition strategies must keep pace with the changing economic landscape. Without a fresh approach to the hiring process, you may be significantly disadvantaged as you look to grow your workforce.

Along the same lines, the promise of cutting-edge technology may set your organization apart from others, helping to attract quality talent for open roles. A workplace that offers opportunity to utilize robotic process automation, artificial intelligence, and other advanced technological platforms will draw job seekers hoping to land a position founded upon modern innovation.

Meanwhile, incoming patients will flock towards user-friendly healthcare technology that appeals to our established reliance on mobile phones. Self-service tools that facilitate effortless scheduling, intake and registration, billing procedures, and more can simplify the patient experience, enhance patient satisfaction – and provide your employees with vital bandwidth to focus on patient care as opposed to administrative tasks.

By the same token, leveraging technology to streamline processes can reduce the number of touchpoints throughout a patient’s journey, allowing you to accomplish more with fewer staff members. Automated processes also diminish potential for human error, protecting revenue against costly mistakes that lead to denials and payment delays.

Outsourcing enables tangible progress

Effective revenue cycle management is often achieved via outsourcing partnerships. Third-party assessments can guide you towards constructive alternative business models. With limited staff, you may not have the capacity to step back and objectively evaluate operations, especially regarding institutionalized procedures from decades prior. A fresh set of eyes can identify opportunities to increase efficiency and eliminate problematic procedural steps.

Revenue cycle management outsourcing embraces partners who specialize in specific business functions. Familiar with current trends, they may suggest tools, services, or tactics you’ve not yet explored. As you strive to isolate and overcome your biggest pain points, it’s critical that you align yourself with allies who see the bigger picture and can drive measurable progress. While the threat of coronavirus may extend indefinitely, you can take action to alleviate some of its harshest economic impacts.

  1. “Economic News Release: Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary,” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, January 4, 2022, https://www.bls.gov/news.release/jolts.nr0.htm.

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