Automation and the Future of Work: Tackling Healthcare Staffing Challenges

Staffing shortages hit the healthcare industry particularly hard during the pandemic. As we continue to move forward and through additional workforce shortages, hospitals have been forced to halt or scale back critical services. The Great Resignation resulted in many hiring travel nurses, but the financial cost, especially for rural hospitals, was just not sustainable. As a result, many have halted services like labor and delivery, behavioral and addiction medicine, and inpatient, surgical, and emergency services. In fact, the American Hospital Association (AHA) has projected there will be a shortage of 3.2 million healthcare workers by 2026.

Feeling the Strain of Being Understaffed

COVID-19 pushed hospitals beyond the breaking point, as many operated close to capacity while being understaffed. And things are not getting better. The new variant, B.A.5, continues to challenge healthcare systems in every state with increased admissions and severe understaffing. Hospital employment is still down almost 75,000 jobs compared to pre-pandemic levels. This understaffing implicates areas like patient safety, administrative “workarounds,” illness, and a constant turnover of employees. In chronically understaffed healthcare facilities, too much work for too few people leads to round-the-clock shifts, overwhelming workloads, and burnout. Hospitals were facing staffing shortages before the B.A.5 variant, but with COVID-19 rapidly spreading across the country again, folks are becoming reinfected at alarming rates, pushing those who stayed to work even harder.

How a Digital Workforce Can Help

So far this year, more than four million people leave their jobs each month in the U.S. The first area in which a digital workforce can help is in the hiring and onboarding process. High-volume, repetitive administrative tasks are where “bots” shine, completing change management protocols, setting up passwords, sending emails, processing payroll, credentialing, and reporting. All of these require a significant amount of time and manual labor. Allowing time-laden administrative tasks to be completed by a “bot” frees up people to work on higher-value tasks that require human skills, like listening, empathy, and communication. RPA is the perfect digital ally for busy HR departments, completing tasks like:

  • Candidate screening and short listing
  • Offer letters and associated tasking
  • Travel and expense processing
  • Change management and onboarding tasks
  • Payroll management
  • Attendance tracking
  • Compliance reporting

Is a Robot My New Co-Worker?

A robot for every person may conjure up an image of your favorite Star Wars droid, but in reality we are referencing a software robot. The key to workforce success is creating an environment where humans and robots can work together in harmony. It’s not about serving a cup of coffee or turning the lights on, but rather completing mind-numbing tasks that digital bots gobble up like Pac-Man, allowing people to get more done, offloading the tedious, manual tasks to machines. Give people back their time to do meaningful work, and allow robots to take care of the minutiae that bogs down every department. Benefits include:

  • Improved accuracy and compliance
  • 24/7/365 workforce
  • Data migrations from EHR, portal, or application
  • Manual data entry and forms processing
  • Processing claims, payroll
  • Supply chain orders and invoices

Elevate the Human Experience

The nature of work is changing. We witnessed the biggest change from the pandemic: remote work. For decades, those of us who worked from a home office realized that remote work allowed productivity to skyrocket, when cubicle visits and capacity issues disappeared. Concerns over diminished team building and a dilution of culture were quickly eliminated in favor of safety, efficiency, and the ability to get things accomplished despite the havoc of a global pandemic. Workplace choices such as totally remote, flex days, and flex hours, facilitate employee satisfaction and purpose. COVID-19 placed unprecedented demands and challenges on an already strained workforce. Digital transformation is a building block of patient-focused care, helping providers streamline operations, build loyalty, and offer a better user experience. A digital workforce is designed to support and augment the capabilities of human staff.

Why Boston Software Systems

No RPA company has a better track record in healthcare. For over 30 years, Boston WorkStation has been creating efficiencies in hundreds of healthcare organizations, technology offerings, and provider offices. Not only is it helping with staff shortages by “taking up the slack” of missing employees, automation provides an affordable solution to maintaining business continuity and operational excellence post-COVID-19. Find out why Boston WorkStation receives 100% ratings in product value, money’s worth return on investment, and “no nickel and diming” from our loyal customers. Spend 30 minutes to discover what projects will yield the best results, and can be implemented in < 30 days. Work smarter, with Boston WorkStation.

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