How to Address 3 Critical Health Care Focus Areas for 2022

How to Address 3 Critical Health Care Focus Areas for 2022. A knob marked SUCCESS that goes from Off to 1 through 9 and then Max in black. At the end of the rand there is an addition mark labeled 11 in red. The know is set to 11.

Health care providers face a reality that was unimaginable a couple of years ago. Service lines continue to be interrupted by COVID-19, with no end in sight. The health care workforce is stressed out and stretched thinly amid the so-called Great Resignation wave. Care delivery increasingly is being moved from hospitals to outpatient facilities and the home, thanks in part to an explosion of digital technologies.

These and other trends have sped up health care transformation. And while the future appears anything but clear, thought leaders have issued a slew of predictions and analyses about what executives should be taking away from the current trends.

1 | Meet the Workforce Challenge

Workforce retention and recruitment arguably have become the most critical challenge facing health care leaders. One in four U.S. hospitals reporting their data to Department of Health & Human Services said they were facing critical staff shortages last month. Demand for clinical staff, particularly nurses, has led hospitals and health systems to spend significantly more on salaries, sign-on bonuses and traveling nurses.

This problem will persist beyond 2022, according to a Jan. 6 S&P Global Ratings report on nonprofit hospitals. The Great Resignation has added to health care’s woes. Of the 6.4 million workers who quit their jobs in November, health care workers had the second highest resignation rate at 6.4%, notes the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

 Critical Success Factors 

  • Concentrate on retention strategies. Capitalize on the potential of virtual health and digital solutions to transform care delivery and expand access to clinical expertise.
  • Prioritize clinician training, support seamless and high-quality interaction. Increase use of augmented reality to train clinicians, assist in treatment and upskill workers. Integrate automation technology and reassess virtual care programs to scale them for long-term success. Learn more in the AHA 2022 Health Care Talent Scan report.
  • Be creative. UPMC recently created its own travel-staffing agency to help retain highly skilled nurses and surgical technologists. The goal is to rely less on costly outside agency staff and provide flexibility to UPMC staff who would like to travel to its facilities in Pennsylvania, Maryland and New York.

2 | Transition Care to Home

As much as $265 billion worth of care services for Medicare fee-for-service and Medicare Advantage beneficiaries could shift to the home by 2025, according to a recent McKinsey & Company report. Interventions like primary care telehealth visits, self-administered dialysis at home, remote patient monitoring and support activities for daily living have the potential to deliver greater value and higher-quality care.

 Critical Success Factors 

  • Create a value-backed home care strategy. Develop specific use cases in which patients benefit from higher-quality, more accessible care and reduce medical costs and unnecessary hospitalizations and emergency department use.
  • Develop care-at-home clinical models for patients. Examples include primary and specialty telehealth care, in-home acute care or in-home infusion services.
  • Establish partnerships. Consider teaming with other providers or technology companies that can provide care at home; enabling services such as remote monitoring, care management, social support; or building capabilities internally.

3 | Clinical Outcomes: Your Key Differentiator

As direct-to-consumer companies further expand into primary care, behavioral health and other service areas, many are facing challenges in scaling operations. How this might impact outcomes and patients’ expectations remains to be seen, but expect quality to be the ultimate arbiter of success. This will be a year of differentiation, particularly in digital health, notes a Bessemer Health Ventures report.

 Critical Success Factors 

  • Use data analytics to accelerate innovation and reduce risks. With the field moving toward value-based health care models, providers using advanced data management technologies and artificial intelligence-driven analytics to identify opportunities for improvement, measure results and improve outcomes will have the advantage.
  • Make targeted investments. For outside companies disrupting health care as well as traditional providers, investing in people, processes and protocols are more important than ever. That may be easier said than done, however, in today’s challenging economic environment.
  • Stay focused on quality. This year, many expect the narrative in virtual care, particularly in behavioral health, to shift focus from access to quality. As access gaps are filled, the importance of quality will be underscored. Those who prove real differentiation in clinical outcomes will be the winners.

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