It is well known that there is a shortage of healthcare personnel. The pressure on current employees will increase even more as the demand for care increases. Extra money to recruit and train staff is not the solution. The time has come to initiate alternative strategies. This requires vision and courage to deviate from the beaten track.
In the report Way out of scarcity by Gupta Strategists from May 2022 explains that technology can make an important contribution to solving the personnel problems. This strategy requires courage and vision and starts with removing the most important obstacles.
Lack of urgency and knowledge gap
As long as the traditional approach, recruiting staff, with the help of extra financial resources is still somewhat effective, there is no need and urgency to change course. In addition, it is impossible for a healthcare institution to keep up with all new technological developments and to translate them into its own processes. If you do not know how technology can contribute to improving and making processes more efficient, you will also use this tool.
Healthcare organizations tend to want to test all technology themselves, instead of assuming that innovations that are successful at the neighbors will also help their own organization. The processes do not differ that much. By working together, healthcare organizations can create scale to properly implement solutions. As long as healthcare organizations still experience a lot of mutual competition, the interest in cooperation is unfortunately limited. Seek collaboration and share the knowledge and experience gained with technology.
Fear and skepticism
Distrust of staff also plays a role. Little changes when employees are afraid that technology will make their job less fun or disappear. With ‘it’s not safe’ argument change is easy to block. Explore the possibilities and create a clear vision of the deployment and impact of automation.
The deployment of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) has proven that new technology can be essential to cope with the increasing staff shortage. RPA is simply put: software robots that operate the existing ICT applications as virtual employees, exactly as a natural person does. Thanks to RPA, the professional can focus on providing care, so that they immediately experience more job satisfaction and get satisfaction from their work. But RPA is also a tool that directly results in savings in time and money. It can reduce throughput times of processes and it helps healthcare workers to realize client-orientation in practice.
Processing client referral letters
A good example is the processing of client referral letters at mental healthcare institutions, a repetitive and time-consuming process. A software robot receives the client referral letters from the GP by email and reads them. The check of client data and the referrer is done exactly as a real employee would do. The client is then logged in and registered in the EPD system. For healthcare employees, this quickly saves time of at least 50 hours per month and more importantly: the client is helped much faster.
Interest in the applications of this new technology is increasing. Make use of industry knowledge and implementation partners. Targeted use of this knowledge could well be the most important way out of the staff shortage.
Mark de Poorter, at Tacstone Technology responsible for automation projects in the healthcare sector