The news: Workforce challenges came in as hospital CEOs’ No.1 concern for the second consecutive year, according to the American College of Healthcare Executives’ annual survey.
How we got here: The pandemic pushed frontline providers to quit and drove all-time high rates of clinician burnout.
These workforce issues have caused disruptions in patient care while sounding the alarm on patient safety in hospitals. In fact, staffing shortages in healthcare organizations ranked as the top patient safety concern in 2022 since they cause long waits for consumers, sometimes in life-threatening emergencies, per ECRI.
Travel nurses were only a Band-Aid: Hospitals turned to temporary travel nurses to address workforce shortages. But nurse staffing agencies began overcharging, and are no longer a necessity as patient volumes cool down.
Virtual nursing to the rescue? Health systems are pivoting toward virtual nursing programs to address workforce gaps.
In these programs, virtual nurses give bedside nurses additional support by performing hands-off tasks like admission evaluations remotely, even for multiple patients. This reduces the chance that on-site nurses will be burned out, while allowing nurses who otherwise may have retired or are out on short-term injury leave to still work.
This article originally appeared in Insider Intelligence's Digital Health Briefing—a daily recap of top stories reshaping the healthcare industry. Subscribe to have more hard-hitting takeaways delivered to your inbox daily.
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