Anticipating 2022’s Top Healthcare Trends and Challenges
The last two years introduced more changes and challenges to healthcare organizations than ever before. The pandemic tested healthcare employees, who worked to the point of burnout to save lives, and highlighted severe inequities in the quality of and access to care for historically disadvantaged groups. Add to that the explosive growth of telehealth, which is reinventing healthcare delivery.
As we begin 2022, many of the trends and challenges introduced in previous years remain with us. But these unsolved challenges offer opportunities for growth and innovation in the way we serve our workforces and our patients.
Here are our predictions for some of the top challenges healthcare organizations will need to overcome in 2022.
Employers Will Need to Double Down on Branding
The healthcare worker shortage and widespread burnout of clinical workers will continue at crisis levels. To staff their organizations, employers need to develop clear, differentiated offerings that will attract employees for the long term. “There's a need for healthcare organizations to re-envision their employee value proposition,” says Rosemarie Day, Founder and CEO of Day Health Strategies. “What can they offer their employees that other organizations, and in particular other healthcare organizations, can’t?”
An important piece of that employer branding will be in-house training programs and partnerships with learning institutions. Highlight the training and learning and development programs you can offer to help employees move vertically or laterally in the company.
Healthcare Equity Will Remain a Priority
The pandemic drove increased awareness of healthcare inequities and the effects of implicit bias and social determinants of health on patient outcomes. This year, we must continue prioritizing actions to close gaps in care. “Providers need to focus on understanding not only the social determinants of health experienced by patients but also on the social determinants of recovery,” says Chantal Laperle, Senior Program Manager at Advocates for Human Potential.
Develop strategies and metrics for monitoring healthcare inequity at your organization so that you can continue to address it. “Many healthcare organizations are collecting increasingly robust data about race, ethnicity, language and gender,” Day says. “Now it’s time to bring the pieces together by, for instance, creating dashboards and acting on findings to make change.”
Patients Will Expect a Tech-Enabled Experience
The intersection of patient care and technology will only become more crucial in 2022. Startups and tech companies are developing their own healthcare options, and traditional systems will need to ramp up their use of tech-enabled healthcare solutions to remain competitive. “Patients expect their providers to have technologies that integrate seamlessly to provide convenient, accessible, high-quality care,” Day says, “and healthcare organizations will need to continually adapt to keep up.”
But don’t just add technology for its own sake. Always prioritize the user experience. Whether it’s software to make patient care easier on employees or to deliver remote solutions to make healthcare more convenient for patients, think about who will be using the software and how to optimize for that target user.
There are inequities to solve here, too. “Many rural communities lack access to dependable broadband internet,” Laperle says. Healthcare systems will need to work with available resources to offer remote care to patients in these areas.
Continuing to deliver optimal care to your patient population depends on your ability to attract and train the best talent, minimize inequities and optimize care delivery through technology.