As the healthcare industry grapples with a growing labor shortage, the three healthcare systems are sharing innovative ways to hire and retain their workers, writes Carol Davis for Health Leaders Media.

How to fix the staff of doctors. (Hint: “It won’t be cheap.”)

The US faces a shortage of medical workers

Since the start of the pandemic, burnout and mental health issues have exacerbated a severe shortage of healthcare workers. In fact, the 2021 survey from Kaiser Family Foundation and Washington Post found that almost 30% of healthcare professionals are considering leaving their jobs.

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Analysis EMSI data. In addition, the United States is expected to face a shortage of 124,000 doctors by 2033, with at least 200,000 new nurses required each year to meet the growing demand, due in part to aging patients.

“The task of addressing labor shortages is undoubtedly a challenge,” Davis writes, but three health care systems have found ways to meet the challenge by supporting their workers.

1. Colorado Children’s Hospital Human Resources.

In 1999, Colorado Children’s Hospital launched the Medical Career Collaborative (MC²), a two-year program that provides high school students with hands-on training in a variety of roles with workshops, field trips, and paid internships.

According to Stacey Whiteside, the hospital’s director of experience and engagement, who leads the MC², at least 96% of students enrolled in the MC² program graduate from it, and “somewhere north of 70%” end up with a career in healthcare. including clinical care. , public health, psychology, mental health counseling, or other medical or social work.

Since the launch of the initiative, Children’s Colorado has filled at least 80 health care positions at the organization and other hospitals. Whiteside said the program continues to help with staffing issues at the hospital.

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“We have about 20 graduates who have gone on to pursue medical degrees, but last August our first MC² graduate returned to Children’s Colorado and was hired as a pediatric emergency physician as an on-duty physician in our emergency department. “. Whiteside said.

“Her story is evidence of the long-term plan for this program,” she added. “She grew up just around the corner, went to high school, which is about two miles from Children’s Colorado on the Anschutz campus, and now she’s serving in the community again. It’s pretty phenomenal.”

According to Whiteside, the MC² program is “a lot of work, a lot of energy and a huge amount of logistics,” but “the ROI is starting to be pretty remarkable as we see nurses and now doctors, paramedics.” , laboratory technicians, radiologists, and social workers are starting to add to our workforce, which was the program’s original mission. Now we are doing it.”

2. Sanford Health AI planning tool

Sanford Health used to determine staffing requirements manually using patient statistics from a year before nurse schedules were created. However, Erica DeBoer, CNO Sanford, said these planning systems were “archaic”, requiring too much time and effort, and only met the needs of the healthcare system about 60% of the time.

Now Sanford has implemented its own artificial intelligence (AI) predictive analytics tool called LAMP (Using Analytics to Mobilize Our Workforce and Training) that analyzes workplace activities (hiring, transferring and firing information) to create schedules for up to 18 months. . According to DeBoer, the AI ​​tool has helped improve the accuracy of health care schedules by almost 90%.

“We had the ability to use predictive analytics to try to predict what our census would be, and then based on that census, whether in a surgical or obstetrics unit, an adult intensive care unit, or a pediatric unit, we could start to understand what our staffing needs and look ahead at least four weeks and then expect more as we think about future workforce shortages,” DeBoer said.

In addition, this tool is expected to increase job satisfaction for nurses and nursing supervisors, which in turn will increase employee retention, lead to higher productivity and patient satisfaction.

“In particular, it will help our managers communicate more with our employees and our patients,” DeBoer said. “It takes some of that workload off because it’s automated and you don’t have to worry about them having to call [nurses into work] and respond to the specific needs of the patient.

Overall, Sanford is “trying to make the most of technology to automate workflows that probably don’t add value or could take some of the burden off the frontline nursing team and get them back to the passionate work they do every day.” day with our patients,” DeBoer said.

3. Careful succession planning for IU Health

AT Indiana University (IU) Healthrigorous succession planning, which identifies and develops potential candidates for transition to other roles, has helped the organization ensure fast and smooth transitions to leadership roles.

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For example, when the chief nurse at IU Health moved to the position of chief operating officer, the CNO from the largest hospital in the healthcare system quickly took over her previous position – a transition made possible by a clear succession plan.

“There was development and intentionality for him to be on it [succession] plan,” said Christina Chapman, vice president of IU Health and director of training. “We were able to fulfill it and have a ready successor when she moved on.”

According to Chapman, some of the benefits of succession planning include higher retention rates, lower recruitment costs, and organizational stability.

“People want to know they have a way forward,” she said. “No matter how much people want to grow and develop, it helps to stay in the modern world. This is important to preserve our talents.” Currently, about two-thirds of leadership positions at IU Health are for internal promotions, which are mainly related to succession planning.

Ultimately, a succession plan requires both work and intent to be successful, Chapman said. “You can’t just put a name in a box and say, ‘This person can be the successor,'” she said. “It has to be something that has been actively worked on.” (Davis, Health Leaders Media6/13)

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