Change management in healthcare is rarely simple. Any change in how healthcare is delivered affects patients and practitioners.
COVID-19 forced many hospitals and other healthcare facilities to change the ways they operated. These facilities were forced to revamp their approaches to change management. In doing so, they have started exploring ways to improve change management in healthcare. They are also working diligently to ensure their facilities can recruit and maintain adequate staff.
A clear understanding of how COVID-19 impacted change management in healthcare is key. With this understanding, hospital administrators and other healthcare professionals can see how change management in healthcare is evolving. They can then fine-tune their approach to change management. Most importantly, they can ensure their healthcare facilities are well-equipped to thrive, even when sudden changes take place.
Now, let’s look at three ways COVID-19 affected change management in healthcare and their long-term impact on healthcare professionals.
1. The Great Resignation
Many workers left their jobs during the pandemic. This created staffing issues for organizations in many sectors. Healthcare organizations were not immune to the effects of the Great Resignation.
Healthcare workers have increasingly pursued jobs in other professions since the start of the pandemic. They frequently cited burnout and mental health as reasons why they are seeking careers in other fields.
Employers can offer mental health accommodations to support healthcare personnel. These employers can provide flexible work or break schedules to ensure healthcare staff have ample time to take care of their mental health throughout the work day. They can also offer recovery rooms where healthcare workers can temporarily step away from the hustle and bustle of their jobs.
As more workers have left healthcare, hospitals and other healthcare facilities have explored new ways to attract and recruit talent.
Some healthcare organizations are looking beyond traditional employee benefits. They are offering concierge services, bonuses, and other perks to stir up interest from first-rate job candidates.
Healthcare organizations are more prone to provide resiliency training as well. This training teaches healthcare workers how to cope with stress and exhaustion. It ensures these employees understand the dangers of stress and exhaustion and how to manage them. These workers can take extra precautions to take care of their mental and physical wellbeing.
2. Health Disparities
The pandemic illustrated health disparities prevalent across the United States. These disparities included above-average COVID-19 infection rates for members of certain race and ethnic groups. There were also some groups of people that had limited access to healthcare services and support due in part to their socioeconomic or economic status or location.
Before the pandemic, most healthcare professionals put health disparities on the backburner. They may have done so because they felt the disparities could not be fixed. Or, they may have had no interest in trying to resolve such issues.
Healthcare must be readily accessible to all people. Yet, eliminating health disparities requires hard work and patience. Fortunately, healthcare professionals have shown they are more willing than ever before to tackle health disparities.
To eliminate health disparities, healthcare professionals must first accept these problems. From here, these professionals can work with peers and leaders to explore opportunities to improve healthcare accessibility. They can develop plans to ensure all people can maintain consistent access to health. These plans can be evaluated and improved over time.
Health disparities will not disappear on their own. However, healthcare professionals can work in lockstep with one another to resolve these issues. That way, healthcare organizations can minimize health disparities. They can then ensure that patients can receive high-quality medical care and support at healthcare facilities nationwide.
3. Remote Work
Healthcare organizations want to do everything in their power to keep their employees safe. The pandemic led many of these organizations to let employees work remotely whenever possible. As healthcare organizations adjusted to offsite work, they were often forced to find the best ways to communicate and collaborate with their remote employees.
Managing remote workers in healthcare can be challenging. Remote workers must be able to quickly and easily access patient data and other medical information. At the same time, they must be able to securely manage and update this information. Failure to do so can result in HIPAA violations for a healthcare organization.
A HIPAA violation can result in a fine that ranges from $120 to over $1.8 million. If medical information is compromised, it can also put a healthcare organization, its staff, and its patients in danger.
Many healthcare organizations are investing in remote work and look poised to continue to do so moving forward. These organizations are providing remote personnel with software, tools, and technologies they can use to remain productive and efficient.
Additionally, healthcare organizations are helping remote workers secure medical data. They are committing time, energy, and resources to keep pace with HIPAA and other data security requirements and comply with them.
Healthcare organizations are offering flexible work opportunities. They want remote personnel to perform at peak levels. Conversely, remote employees must be able to take regular breaks at work. As such, healthcare organizations are offering resources to help remote workers develop and maintain a healthy work-life balance. This can help healthcare organizations stand out to top talent from around the world.
What Does the Future Hold for Change Management in Healthcare?
Change management is an ongoing priority for hospital administrators and other healthcare professionals. It has changed since the start of the pandemic. At this point, healthcare professionals are adjusting their operations as needed.
Healthcare professionals are still learning from COVID-19 and evaluating its impact on change management. Going forward, these professionals can continue to look for new ways to manage change. If healthcare professionals are willing to adapt, they can effectively manage change within their organizations both now and in the future.