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Help Wanted: Labor Market, Vaccine Mandates, and Worker Burnout Top Healthcare Industry Challenges

Analysis  |  By Jasmyne Ray  
   March 15, 2022

More than 400 industry financial leaders participated in the survey, commissioned by AKASA.

The competitive market for talent, vaccine mandates, and employee burnout are the top three concerns impacting healthcare operations, says  AKASA, a developer of artificial intelligence (AI) for healthcare operations. More than 400 industry financial leaders were surveyed.

Biggest concerns impacting healthcare operations:

  • Competitive market for talent (71%)
  • Vaccine mandates (42%)
  • Employee burnout (41%)

" These teams are facing labor shortages like never before. COVID-19 has stretched hospitals and healthcare systems beyond the breaking point," AKASA CEO and co-founder Malinka Walaliyadde said in a press release. "And for all the new problems the pandemic has introduced, it has also shone a light on decades-old issues, where healthcare operations teams have historically been understaffed."

To address the concerns identified by the survey, Walaliyadde suggests developing strategies to boost employee morale and recruitment efforts.

The industry-wide staffing shortage has resulted in burnout for many healthcare workers, in addition to financial strain for healthcare systems. With many workers working overtime and extra shifts, it's more difficult to hire additional people.

For vaccine mandates, in February, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld current vaccine mandates requiring healthcare workers to be fully vaccinated, with exemptions for religious beliefs or medical conditions. Consequently, some industry leaders are struggling to hire new talent and retain current members of their staff who have been resistant to COVID restrictions.

Other concerns noted in the survey include rapid employee turnover and limitations on working remotely—with the latter influencing an organization's appeal in the labor market.

As remote work becomes the norm, hospitals and healthcare organizations are competing with other providers across the country for the same talent, according to AKASA.

Such competition puts smaller and rural hospitals and health systems at a disadvantage, because they often have lower pay scales.

Jasmyne Ray is the revenue cycle editor at HealthLeaders. 

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