Healthcare is at an inflection point. Healthcare leaders must look for new ways to deliver efficient and secure care while continuing to adapt to the post-pandemic world. Labor costs and current clinical shortages are causing hospitals to operate with much smaller budgets. Many are easing the financial pain by having clinicians work at the top of their license and creating strategies around automation, which helps with staffing shortages and reduces cost. What are some of the additional issues facing hospitals and health systems in 2023?
Additional Losses for Hospitals and Health Systems
2022 has turned out to be the worst year for hospitals since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic has put extreme stress on the healthcare workforce in the United States. More than a third of hospitals are operating on negative margins as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to cause financial losses and additional challenges for health systems. Before the pandemic, labor costs made up more than 50 percent of total expenses for hospital systems. As COVID-19 impacted the hospital workforce, workers started leaving their positions due to burnout, job stress, and inadequate compensation. These occurrences have been severely detrimental to hospital finances, leading to billions of dollars in losses and over 33% of hospitals operating on negative margins. Hospitals and health systems continue to face intense pressure on staff and resources while dealing with rising expenses for supplies, drugs, and equipment, as well as for the workforce. According to a recent Forrester prediction, there is no change in sight anytime soon. Hospital and health system expenses are expected to increase by nearly $135 billion in 2023, driven by a projected $86 billion increase in labor expenses.
Big Box Healthcare
Retail health competition and wellness incentives are driving retail healthcare growth as we enter 2023. Walmart Health announced recently that they are planning to expand their footprint in the state of Florida, opening 16 new retail clinics. The goal is to increase community access to healthcare while making strides toward better quality and health equity. Walmart’s convenient health supercenters, with an aggressive cash-pay pricing strategy of $40 primary care visits and $25 dental exams, not only bypass insurance companies, but can also reduce administrative costs. Walmart operates 3,600 stores in the U.S. with 195 million weekly shoppers. CVS Health is opening 1,500 HealthHUBs, and Walgreens partnered with VillageMD to open over 500 primary care clinics. These options offer convenience, price transparency, and an above average patient experience. In addition, they are upping their telehealth offerings, providing the ability to carry out live consultations in the comfort of your home. Big box retailers like Walmart, CVS, and Walgreens have a far-reaching geographic presence and extended hours, which make them extremely accessible and consumer-centric. There’s a huge opportunity here, but we’ll have to wait to weigh the health outcomes.
Hospital at Home Models
Since the pandemic began, we’ve noticed an uptake in the speed and availability of healthcare innovation. Healthcare delivery in the United States will continue to transform rapidly as we enter 2023 and beyond. The expansion of in-home based healthcare options appeals to both Medicare and non-Medicare patient populations that were previously committed to inpatient care models. In-home care can be appealing to maternity patients, the elderly and frail, those with chronic conditions, and weakened immune systems. Data available from remote patient monitoring appliances, apps, and wearables are advancing the capabilities of healthcare at home. According to The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), hospital-at-home programs are growing, because they improve outcomes at a lower cost and with higher patient satisfaction scores. New technologies such as AI, or augmented reality, surgical navigation, and tele-monitoring will enable procedures to shift to community surgical centers, supported by changes in reimbursement models. Likewise, telemedicine services will enable clinicians to deliver chronic disease management programs that are no longer anchored to a hospital or clinic. With less exposure to germs and a better patient experience, we should see growth in this sector in 2023.
Human Resource (HR) professionals will need to hone and develop new skills if they want to contribute to their organization’s future goals. Nowhere is this felt more than in the healthcare system. HR trends like DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion), hybrid and remote work, employee skills management, employee benefits, company culture, engagement, technology, quiet quitting, and a renewed focus on retention may represent the most significant challenges for HR professionals in 2023. The HR department plays an important role in every industry, but its role in healthcare is particularly critical. Attracting and retaining top talent will be a priority as well as a challenge in 2023. It will be important to find people who are adaptable, flexible and open, and then do everything possible to lessen tedious tasks and empower employees to create a culture of trust and belonging. Automation can help companies lessen the impact of administrative tasks like onboarding, change management, training, and communications.
Why Boston Software Systems
As we enter 2023, we must remember that we are still recovering from the effects of the last three years. In order to keep moving forward, lessen stress, and promote mental health stability, we will need to work smarter together by dividing processes between those that can be automated and those that cannot. Just as RPA has helped healthcare professionals deal with the onset of the pandemic, it can now form part of the recovery. In a world where problems are getting more complex, problem-solving says everything about a company. At Boston Software Systems, our people are passionate about listening, teaching, and supporting long-term RPA goals. Give us a call. We’d love to discuss your 2023 projects. Until then, be safe, stay well, and thank you for your support in 2022. Wishing you a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, and Happy New Year!