The COVID-19 pandemic brought pain, stress and change on caregivers throughout healthcare organizations. Clinicians, already overburdened prior to the pandemic, suffered moral injury. Conditions and burnout drove the Great Resignation, creating record turnover. Out of necessity, contract labor was needed to care for waves of patients. The staffing crisis endures.
Despite a recent decline in contract labor use, staffing challenges, patient volumes and inflation have pushed health systems into ominous territory. According to consultancy Kaufman Hall, hospital costs have risen about 20% compared with pre-pandemic levels, while net operating revenue increased 15%. About half of U.S. hospitals ended 2022 with a negative margin.
The industry has also seen a decrease in healthcare quality and patient experience compared with standards before the pandemic, according to the Leapfrog Group. Reporting from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also shows significant increases in healthcare-acquired infections. A recent Gallup poll shows Americans’ perception of healthcare quality at a decade low.
Given these challenges, every healthcare leader knows they must change, but many don’t know how to start or lack a framework to build upon. Here are some suggestions: