On the Brink of a ‘Tripledemic’ and a Plan to Support Healthcare Workers
The New York Times recently ran an article highlighting concerns about increasing cases of COVID-19, the flu, and RSV and the strain they’re putting on pediatric hospitals. COVID cases are rising, and the flu season is starting earlier than usual.
The cases of children infected with RSV (respiratory syncytial virus), a common respiratory virus that usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms, but can be serious in children and older adults, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indices, are on the rise. Hospitals across the U.S. are drowning in RSV pediatric cases, as stated by NBC News reporter Aria Bendix in an Oct. 14, 2022, article.
Bendix also reports that California, Illinois, Massachusetts, North Carolina, and Rhode Island are reporting pediatric hospital bed capacity is strained due to the influx of RSV patients. It has us all questioning: Is our healthcare system on the brink of collapse?
Steven Ross Johnson, a U.S. News reporter, states in a July 28, 2022, article that these challenges are exacerbated amid ongoing reports of staffing shortages choking the U.S. healthcare system. In fact, Johnson lists the shortage of healthcare workers as the nation’s “top patient safety concern.”
Let’s not forget the portions of our population that are most likely to get the flu are children and those 65 and older. With more than 46 million people living in the U.S. over age 65, the concerns and need to support healthcare workers have become increasingly evident.
A Plan to Support Healthcare Workers This Winter
While there isn’t a magic cure to the problem, there are opportunities to ease pressures and improve operations to help healthcare workers work efficiently and get access to the information they need.
Technologies, such as Dossier’s competency management software, can:
- Provide competency plan updates, skills check-offs, orientation packets, and annual mandatories to staff quickly
- Equip schedulers with the knowledge they need to ensure the right team with the right skills is assigned to every patient
- Reassure managers and directors (who are managing hundreds and sometimes thousands of staff) that their team has the skills, knowledge, judgment, and behaviors for the tasks at hand
- Allow staff to free up time because they can work more efficiently – giving healthcare workers more time for training, patients, and themselves
These elements are critical for maintaining quality and patient safety. Because when patient admittance soars and teams are overworked and overwhelmed, burnout sets in, and mistakes happen. Dr. David Weill, a USA Today contributor, reports in his Oct. 24, 2022, article that nurses are already sounding alarms over their concerns for patient safety.
We need to ensure that as we enter this Winter season and face a potential ‘tripledemic,’ we are equipping healthcare teams with tools that will help them, not hinder them.
The hits to healthcare workers and public health just keep coming. While in an ideal situation, hospitals would be able to hire more staff, that isn’t possible. The talent pool needed for that just doesn’t exist.
We have to consider other, sustainable options – ones that help healthcare workers, department heads, and hospital administration. Technology advancements and digital transformations are already occurring in hospitals, but tools that immediately benefit those delivering care, especially when it comes to competency management, aren’t being prioritized.
It’s time to make the shift to digital competency management. The risks to quality and patient safety are just too great. Implementation for tools takes weeks – not months or years and the benefits to all are immediate.
If you are interested in speaking with the Dossier team, we’re ready and available to help.