In the wake of COVID-19 lockdowns, the healthcare industry continues to grapple with the persistent challenge of a scarcity of professionals equipped with the required information technology expertise, according to a study conducted by analytics firm GlobalData.
The survey, which involved insights from 114 professionals within the healthcare sector, sheds light on the persistent hurdles providers face.
Despite an escalating demand for tech-savvy specialists, the study underscored the ongoing deficiency in individuals possessing critical digital skills.
Among the respondents, 43% identified the lack of specialized skills and talents as the primary obstacle. This concern was closely followed by insufficient funding (40%) and organizational silos (36%).
The report indicated the need for more specialized skills and talents has remained a prominent impediment to digital progress in healthcare since 2020. As the accelerated digital transformation has increased reliance on technology, the shortage of tech-savvy professionals has become more acute.
For instance, despite the growing prominence of AI-based solutions, many healthcare workers lack direct experience with these technologies.
Furthermore, the pandemic’s aftermath prompted a rapid shift to remote and hybrid workstyles, intensifying the need for digitally adept employees.
WHY IT MATTERS
Nurses are already using AI and automation, EHR optimization, telehealth and remote monitoring to manage the challenges of staffing shortages and avoid burnout.
For example, early discharge programs can help address staffing shortages and capacity concerns by observing patients virtually in the comfort of their homes.
The report notes that rather than solely relying on attracting new talents, upskilling and reskilling existing employees emerge as crucial solutions to bridge the workforce gaps.
Altering education methods and allowing employees to be innovative with career flexibility is crucial to ensuring retention and longevity in the healthcare workforce.
THE LARGER TREND
In March 2023, Microsoft-backed Nuance Communications announced the launch of an AI documentation tool to lessen the burden on the already strained healthcare provider workforce.
Physician burnout spiked during the COVID-19 pandemic, and clinicians have sometimes pointed to EHR usability as a key driver of frustration.
A May report on generative AI from research and consulting firm Accenture found that 40% of all working hours in healthcare could be supported or augmented by language-based AI.
Meanwhile, virtual nursing and virtual sitting could help mitigate labor-related challenges in the acute care setting by allowing the monitoring of multiple patients remotely.
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