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Why Labor Retention Impacts Patient Experience

Traffic on a hospital floor

Ask any hospital CEO what is at the top of their mind right now and the most common answer is likely labor retention. In fact, the concern has overtaken financial challenges and other major issues that typically plague hospitals. Without the labor, hospital operations run at a fraction of the normal capacity and this can hit patient experience big time.

Long-term, less labor can have an incredibly negative impact on patient experience. Here are some of the issues that can stem from this problem.

Lack of Trust

Like any human being, patients like familiarity. When they discover their favorite doctor no longer works at their institution anymore, they lose a sense of comfort. This can lead to the patient losing trust in their new doctor and the way they approach their care, resulting in patients not following their care plan. This hurts health outcomes over time and can lead to readmissions depending on the severity of the condition.

This doesn’t have to involve just doctors either. Any hospital staff can make or break the patient experience, from the front desk to the janitor. A noticeable absence of staff makes patients wonder what is going wrong with the organization and whether it’s impacting their care. Keeping the patient experience consistent, transparent and positive is ideal in retaining loyal patients.

Lack of Options

Imagine being given a new doctor after working with the same one for years or even decades. It’s a shock to the system, especially when that doctor understands that patient’s entire care history. If that person moved to another provider nearby, the patient would switch providers for that reason alone. The fact is patients, again, like familiarity and want to keep the same doctor.

But this can torpedo into another issue if that doctor leaves along with others, leaving a massive gap open within a certain care specialty. Pretty soon, that option could be put on hold or become non-existent, leaving patients to look for options that could be outside the provider.

Lack of Efficiency

Efficiency is built upon a foundation of experience, and this is especially true for hospitals. There are processes put in place by employees with years of experience or the right experience needed to keep the system running smoothly. When those foundational people disappear and a provider has trouble filling in those gaps, the effects eventually impact the patient engagement experience, from wait times to get in the hospital, inconsistent communication or lack of response from medical staff.  

Hurts Health Outcomes

Less staff and underqualified staff can wreak havoc on health outcomes and hospital readmissions. Less staff means fewer resources to monitor patients as closely as they should be and can segway into medical errors. The same case can be made for underqualified staff, who may not be able to spot a health condition that staff with more longevity and experience can readily identify. And if they are busy, they may not spend the time needed to enhance a patient’s care.

How Patient Engagement Technology Can Help

Hospitals are working with fewer resources than ever before, which is why patient engagement technology has grown immensely for the last several years.

There are processes that can be automated easily to save hospitals time, money and employee resources. Tools like the PatientBond Digital Health Platform and the PatientBond Insights Accelerator™ can be used to securely interact with patients throughout the entire care journey and communicate with them effectively using psychographic segmentation to tug on their inner motivations. PatientBond’s tools give providers the flexibility to completely customize the patient engagement journey using visual modeling tools such as multi-channel messaging and patient nodes on assessment, metrics, evaluation, intervention and more. And real-time 2-way messaging allows staff or the patient to start the engagement. The tool can be used in itself or easily integrate with most EMR, CMS and practice management systems, offering more options for providers.

While the labor crunch may not end anytime soon, patient engagement technology offered by PatientBond can help ease the burden of hospitals while improving the patient engagement experience.

Get another look at how healthcare technology is shaping the healthcare consumer experience in our whitepaper.

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