The number of nurses experiencing burnout is trending up and has been since before the COVID-19 pandemic. That burnout comes with a hefty price tag. The National Taskforce for Humanity in Healthcare estimates that nursing burnout costs hospitals $9 billion every year. Disengagement and lost productivity drive frequent turnover and can result in lost reimbursement from failing to meet patient-satisfaction and quality-care outcomes.

The increasing move to digital health sped up during the COVID-19 pandemic, from telehealth to remote work to teleconferences. Many of these changes appear to be permanent, particularly in the healthcare workforce. Embracing digital is no longer optional for long-term success.

Here’s how healthcare HR departments can support their organizations for a successful digital transformation. 

In the past year, COVID-19, increased regulations, and managing a remote workforce have all significantly contributed to the changing nature of human resources and intensified the pressure on the HR function. This new environment demands that HR is equipped, engaged, and invested in not only helping their organization meet its business objectives but mitigating risk as well.

Healthcare workforce shortages are affecting all aspects of patient care, and the shortages are only expected to get worse. The American Nurses Association recently called upon Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra to declare the ongoing nursing shortage to be a national crisis.

Telehealth use surged in the first weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic as governments issued stay-at-home orders and providers limited onsite health services. True, telemedicine use declined as more healthcare organizations resume normal services, as patients tend to prefer in-person doctor visits.

The pandemic has taken a toll on U.S. lives, but Black Americans and other Americans of color have been disproportionately affected. Nationally, Black Americans have died of COVID-19 at 1.4 times the rate of white Americans. Responding to health inequities, healthcare systems have taken steps to advance diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) efforts across their organizations.

A workforce crisis is threatening the U.S. economy in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Research from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce found 8.1 million vacant job openings in the United States. As lawmakers, nonprofits, and employers consider how to help close employment gaps, apprenticeship programs have been gaining attention.

Employee health and well-being took center stage for many workplaces during the COVID-19 pandemic. Employers faced difficult decisions regarding remote work, use of personal protective equipment (PPE), and time off for employees who needed to quarantine after falling ill or being exposed to the novel coronavirus. Employees struggled with concerns about viral exposure in the workplace. In addition, employees often experienced high stress from increased workloads or financial uncertainty, as more workplaces had to furlough or terminate employees due to financial difficulties.

It’s always intriguing to find areas that improved during the pandemic. According to applicants, it happened in recruiting. The 2020 North American Candidate Experience Research Report found positive sentiment from candidates shot up (from 25% to 31%), while resentment dropped (from 14% to 8%). This finding leads to the obvious question: Why?

Many organizations commit to enhancing both diversity and inclusion, but most companies end up pushing diversity measures while falling short on improving inclusion. Diversity is easier to measure concretely through data collected from applicants and employees. As long as people are willing to disclose demographic information, you can monitor diversity.

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