By Rick Halton, VP of Marketing, Lumeon
What should be the jolliest of seasons is upon us, and nothing could be a better gift for healthcare institutions this month than a boost in surgical productivity.
That doesn’t sound like something anyone would expect in their stocking, but with the arrival of hybrid care, streamlining preoperative care has become a necessity.
According to research carried out on behalf of Lumeon, healthcare institutions are facing staff burnout, staff retention, and recruitment challenges, along with patient safety and care coordination issues. These present a perfect storm for perioperative care. More than three-quarters of healthcare leaders say that staff burnout and retention is the top challenge facing their organization in the next 12-36 months, followed by staff recruitment (52%) and care coordination (31%).
Challenges like this today are why only 14% of healthcare organizations are back to pre-COVID surgical volumes levels of 90% or higher. Providers are eager to ramp back up to pre-COVID levels, but a capacity crunch is holding them back with the ongoing pandemic. Healthcare leaders cite staffing capacity, coverage, flexibility, and support as the top operational issues preventing them from returning to 2019 surgery volumes.
There are various ways that providers can quickly boost productivity while reducing pressure on staff, including:
- Identify and fast-track low-risk patients using hybrid care
- Identify and help care teams focus on those that have higher-risk or compliance issues
- Automate manual, resource-intensive tasks, such as patient education
- Free skilled nurses to work top-of-license instead of chart-chasing and working on transcriptions between systems
- Treat patients as individuals, with customized care plans based on specific needs and preferences
- Tackle data fragmentation and integration, improving data flow and facilitating communication
Such productivity improvements can help with morale, improve patient experience, increase throughput, and save costs. In each case, it’s wise to let technology do the heavy lifting – redesign processes using technology to ease the workload on staff, and offer continuous, convenient hybrid experiences.
One healthcare leader interviewed in the research believes healthcare institutions can reduce waste by 80% by shifting manual, resource-intensive surgical processes to real-time tech-enabled care journey orchestration. Another leader has proven that deep automation of virtual preoperative care can result in a 60% increase in clinic utilization. These are some of the reasons why 68% of healthcare leaders surveyed said they would like to see most of their patients using virtual, automated preoperative readiness processes over the next year.
With 88% of research respondents saying they need to boost surgical profitability over the next 12-18 months, perioperative care is in the crosshairs for digitization. Many surgery leaders feel that there is still plenty of room for improvement in the preoperative processes, although during COVID, much has been done. Leaders agree that using automation tools to streamline preoperative readiness would profoundly relieve frazzled care teams, helping them ramp surgeries back up without undue strain.
Learn more about boosting perioperative productivity by downloading our report: The New Productivity Era for Perioperative Care here.