Many organizations are still feeling the effects of the pandemic on staffing levels. Use staffing strategies, technology, and efficient workflows to keep your office running smoothly.
We all know that the pandemic has affected our personal and professional lives in unexpected ways over the last two years, and experts indicate we will continue to feel COVID’s effects well into the future. Although we have been facing the most significant health crisis in our lifetimes, according to a recent poll, healthcare staffing is facing severe shortages, and the trend is set to continue.
- 12% of healthcare workers have been laid off due to the pandemic
- 18% of workers have quit their job
- 31% of employed healthcare workers have considered leaving
- 79% of health care professionals have been affected by the worker shortage
According to the MGMA, almost 75% of medical practices rank staffing as their biggest challenge in 2022, and 76% made operational changes in 2021 due to staffing shortages. On a practical level, these statistics indicate that many healthcare workers have found their roles expanded and are doing more than ever before.
With almost a third of the healthcare workforce questioning whether to leave, strategies to mitigate staffing shortages may be the best defense to keep your organization running as smoothly as possible despite the challenges.
Staff shortage mitigation strategies
Cross-train for non-licensed duties
Consider who on your administrative or billing staff may benefit from cross-training in non-licensed health care duties. In addition to alleviating some clinical workflow pressures, these employees will have the opportunity to see your practice from a different perspective, which could prove helpful to the claims process.
Reorganize patient communications
If your front-end clinical staff works the front desk or takes calls from patients, it may benefit your organization to create a position strictly for patient information and communications. This position could entail overseeing the check-in process, centralizing insurance verification, securing authorizations, creating referrals, and making appointments. Organizing in this way also may allow you to hire lesser-skilled employees who can eventually be trained to fulfill other roles in your organization.
Confirm that you are using all the time-saving benefits of your EHR and practice management systems. Explore technology solutions for:
- Self-scheduled appointments
- Patient check-ins
- New patient intake forms
- Insurance verification
- Patient reminders
- Patient records
- Statements and payments
- Clinical and administrative workflow queues
Now that we are leaving the acute phase of the pandemic, some providers are pulling away from offering telehealth services. The MGMA encourages organizations not only to keep their telehealth services going but to expand offerings, citing “increasing telehealth accessibility can aid in the lack of staff support for in-person care” as well as allow providers to work from home. Considering that burnout is a leading cause of underlying staff issues and turnover, working from home may be the lifeline some clinicians sorely need.
Outsourcing administrative tasks and billing can let your office focus on what is most important – treating patients. An added benefit is that it can also help the bottom line. Administrative costs are estimated to run between 25 – 31% of total health expenditures. Not only can using a revenue cycle partner decrease billing expenses and collect more cash, but they also help insulate your organization from unexpected revenue fluctuations due to staff turnover.
If staffing shortages are still impacting operations after employing the above mitigation strategies, it may be time to reduce services or adjust operating hours. Before decreasing patients’ access to care, consider using the right partner for practice management software and billing.
We can make it easy to focus on patient care with our comprehensive offering of medical billing management, virtual receptionist, patient engagement, and telehealth solutions. Contact us today at (412) 424-2260 or visit www.vowhs.com to learn how we can help you optimize workflows, reduce administrative burdens, and maximize revenue.