Resource Constraints and the Patient Experience

Authored By:

Geir Arnhoff, CEO of Dossier

Geir Arnhoff


How rising costs, recruitment challenges, and the great resignation reshaped healthcare and redefined the patient experience

The pandemic continues to add pressure to healthcare organizations across the U.S. From increased pricing for drugs and equipment to recruitment challenges to the great resignation, healthcare CFOs, HR and department executives, and staff are left wondering if there is an end in sight. And it seems it may only get worse before it gets better. 

According to a May 11, 2022 report from McKinsey, the U.S. could see a deficit of 200,000 to 450,000 registered nurses available for direct patient care by 2025 if there are no changes in current care delivery models. To put that into perspective, McKinsey estimates that for every 1 percent of nurses who leave direct patient care, the shortage worsens by about 30,000 nurses.

The impact this will have on care delivery and the patient experience is concerning, especially considering the aging population. By 2030, 71 million Americans (about 20% of the U.S. population) will be 65+, a demographic known to have complex health problems, chronic illnesses, and disabilities. If things don’t change in the U.S. healthcare system, there will be more patients than nurses to care for them.  

While filling the nurse pipeline is one solution, the U.S. would need to double the number of new graduates entering and staying in nursing every year for the next three years. The challenge is there aren’t enough nursing programs and educators to handle the influx. An analysis of graduating nurses shows the decline – dropping from an increase of 4 percent in 2019 to only 1 percent in 2020, far short of what’s needed to support our healthcare system. 

And that’s just part of the problem.

The Financial Impact of COVID on Healthcare Organizations

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there have been nearly 95 million COVID-19 cases, 1.04 million deaths, and more than five million hospitalizations. This has placed an enormous strain on healthcare workers. When combined with rising costs for medications, equipment, etc., these numbers have resulted in billions in lost revenue. 

More than 33% of hospitals are operating on negative margins, according to the American Hospital Association. Many can’t get the nursing staff needed to increase surgeries and cover the budget pressures. 

Typically, when there was a staffing shortage, the budget used not paying salaries could be reallocated for increased costs; however, hospitals were paying travel nurses to help address the staffing shortfall. 

In 2019, hospitals spent a median of 4.7 percent of their total nurse labor expense for contract travel nurses. That number skyrocketed to 38.6 percent (median) in January 2022. Contract labor rates skyrocketed 213 percent compared to pre-pandemic levels. Medical supplies and drug expenses were up 20.6 and 36.9 percent, respectively. 

As though these problems aren’t enough, according to a report from cybersecurity firm Sophos, ransomware attacks on healthcare increased 94 percent from 2021 to 2022. More than two-thirds of healthcare organizations in the U.S. reported experiencing a ransomware attack in 2021. 

When considering the financial impact these factors have had on healthcare organizations, it becomes clear that people alone aren’t going to fix the problem. 

The Solutions

Digital Transformation

Digital transformation in healthcare translates to the ability to serve patients better digitally. It means adopting technologies to improve workflows, efficiency, and patient care. One area that could easily be improved involves shifting from paper-based competency management to a digital competency management platform. 

Only 20 percent of what staff need to know is captured in learning management systems. The other 80 percent is competencies – knowledge, skills, judgment, and behaviors – critical to their roles, but it’s currently captured on paper and housed in three-ring binders, creating waste and inefficiencies. 

Consider the waste in paper-based competency management:

  • Wasted time 
    • Chasing papers and/or redoing lost paperwork
    • Updating competency plans for individuals, departments, and facilities and the time spent printing out plan changes and updating binders – hours upon hours of time when hundreds of staff are involved
  • Cost of paper, binders, storage areas
  • Duplication of competencies from one department to another due to the lack of visibility 
  • Inability for those onboarding or going through training to easily and clearly see where they are in the process, what’s required of them, etc. 

By shifting healthcare competency management to a digital platform, Dossier helpsorganizations improve workflow and efficiency, giving staff more time for training and with patients. 

In the current paper-based competency management environment, when changes are needed, time is spent going into each individual’s plan, making changes, printing the changes out, finding the staff member, finding the binder, switching out the plans, etc. When you multiply this time by the number of staff members involved, the need to go digital becomes clear. 

With digital competency management platforms like Dossier, plan updates happen with a few clicks of a button. Competency checklists can be approved and are visible to all. The visibility into each person’s progress and transparency are valued by staff. Plus, Dossier connects to any learning activity in your healthcare learning ecosystem

Users can report by individual, department, facility, or the full enterprise. And reports can be run in minutes. Dossier practically eliminates survey day stress and frustration. But don’t take our word for it – see for yourself:



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