Will Healthcare Recover in 2022?

Hospitals aren’t expecting a return to normal anytime soon. According to the 2022 report by Kaufman Hall, 20% of hospital executives surveyed said they were “extremely concerned” about their financial viability until an effective vaccine or treatment is available, and another 50% said they were “moderately concerned.”

Approximately 1 in 3 physicians, APPs, and nurses surveyed in a recent AMA study, revealed they intend to reduce work hours as an after effect of #COVID19. 1 in 5 physicians and 2 in 5 nurses intend to leave the practice altogether.

Executives said they are worried about the expected changes in payer mix, with 70% of hospital and health system leaders anticipating an increase in self-pay consumers and Medicaid beneficiaries post-COVID-19. The COVID-19 pandemic gravely impacted provider revenue streams and payer mix. It is imperative that hospitals and health systems continue to pursue new strategies as we enter 2022.

Revenue Cycle Budgets Are Expected to Decrease

With expected commercial payer losses, hospitals and health systems will tighten the purse strings in order to remain financially stable in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. Digital technologies will continue to be a necessity, though the benefit to cost ratio will be under consideration. New projects will be scrutinized to ensure they unlock long-term performance improvement goals. According to HFMA, “27% of executives predict they will use advanced health IT, including predictive analytics and Robotic Process Automation (RPA), to reduce costs.”

Hospitals and Health Systems Plan to Tighten Costs

The findings show that very few healthcare CFOs (12 percent) planned to reduce or defer spending on the digital transformation of their financial systems. As the nation struggles with the continuing COVID-19 public health emergency, hospitals and health systems will become even more creative in finding new ways to reach patients as well as employees, through automation. We’ve already seen this with WFH teams and telehealth applications. As the world faces a new wave, with the variant numbers continuing to rise, healthcare resilience becomes a major concern. While digital technologies will continue to be a necessity, they must be methodically selected to ensure they provide long-term performance improvement. Automation can reduce manual interventions, connect data from disparate systems, and improve the “cost to collect,” thereby empowering the revenue cycle staff to get more done without additional resources or on-site management.

Automation is Expected to Increase

Physicians, clinicians, and administrative staff members are constantly challenged by data management overload. Administrative tasks take up a considerable amount of time in hospitals and healthcare organizations. By automating data entry from disparate systems, improving things like legacy system sunsetting and vaccine registration and administration, clinicians and administrative staff can “bridge the gaps,” and reduce the amount of time spent on duplicate tasking. The key to running an efficient healthcare organization is automation. When you automate administrative tasks that don’t need to be performed by a human being, you’re reducing costs and improving staff morale.

Changing Organizational Demands

The great resignation changed the healthcare landscape in 2021. Efficient systems and services are the key to future success. Moving forward, people are more likely to see themselves as members of a vibrant, innovative profession than members of an organization. Helping people to build work into their lives, rather than the other way around, will become the highest priority. As we move forward with this new business model, the traditional method of looking at last year’s metrics won’t work when planning 2022.

Moving Forward

As revealed by the AMA survey, the traditional method of looking at last year’s metrics won’t work when planning for 2022. There have been so many unprecedented challenges during the past year. The future of our workplaces is uncertain at this time. As we enter a New Year, the healthcare industry must work toward meeting the needs of patients, physicians, nurses, and administrative staff. At Boston Software Systems, we know what you can do today to empower the workers of tomorrow. Give us 30 minutes. We’ll share our success stories from 2021, and better prepare you for the challenges of the coming year.

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