What Do Technology, Staffing Shortages, and CMS Have In Common?

What Do Technology, Staffing Shortages, and CMS Have In Common?

Feb 27, 2019
  • Author:
    Mallory Fatke
    Former VerityStream Employee

This post is the second of two that excerpts the article, “10 Healthcare Trends to Watch in 2019” by Robin Rose, MBA VP, Healthcare Resource Group, HealthStream.

CMS is changing course. 

In late 2017, the American Hospital Association (AHA) released a report entitled, “Regulatory Overload,” documenting the burden government regulation was placing on the healthcare industry, including some staggering statistics.

In the report, the AHA recommended a number of regulatory changes to ease the burden on the U.S. healthcare system, such as suspending hospital star ratings and cancelling Stage 3 of meaningful use. In response, Seema Verma, CMS’ new administrator, has been open to change. Verma has introduced a “Patients over Paperwork” initiative that directs federal agencies to take steps to reduce burdensome regulations.

We need more joy in work.

We are all aware of the high incidence of burnout in the healthcare industry. According to some recent statistics:

  • 37% of newly licensed registered nurses consider leaving the profession in their first year of practice.
  • 54% of U.S. physicians categorize themselves as “burned out.”
  • 60% of physicians are considering leaving the profession.

The Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) is embracing the issue of burnout and calling on the industry to aim for a higher goal—not just the absence of burnout but actually the presence of joy in the workplace.

The nursing shortage is getting worse.

It is estimated that some 55% of today’s nursing workforce is age 55 or older, and more than 1 million registered nurses are predicted to reach retirement age within the next 10 to 15 years. Compounding the problem of a nursing shortage is a high turnover rate among new nurses. On average, 10-15% of any hospital nursing staff is considered “new” and the turnover rate among this group can range anywhere from 25-60%. The shortage is projected to worsen, is likely to be uneven throughout the U.S., and hospitals will have to start spending more to recruit qualified staff.

Physicians are in short supply too.

Unlike what we have seen with the nursing shortage, the dearth of physicians appears to be more widespread throughout the U.S., with only a handful of states predicted to have a surplus in coming years. Thirty-seven states are projected to have a shortage of primary care physicians in 2025, with 12 of these states having a deficit of 1,000 or more FTEs.

Digital healthcare organizations are emerging.

Patient portals, patient literacy, cost transparency, digital payments, referral management, wearables—these are just a few of the challenges healthcare organizations are tackling as they increasingly move from paper and manual processes to being a truly digital organization.

In a recent survey by the American Hospital Association (AHA) and AVIA, a national network of health systems working together to solve pressing challenges with digital solutions, some 75 percent of hospital executives reported that digital innovation will be a priority in their organizations. Together, the AHA and AVIA have laid out five priorities for digital innovation in the U.S.