Getting Sicker by the Day: Is American Healthcare in critical condition?

Why so many medical practitioners are no longer making patient care their priority

One of the common cultural tropes we’ve all been seeing since the pandemic is “The Great Resignation” – people quitting their jobs en masse to ‘find themselves’ – or at least to find purposeful work that suits them better than whatever they were doing before. When this principle is applied to the healthcare community, though, the effects can be devastating.

There’s a considerable amount of healthcare professionals to be found among the 47 million Americans who resigned in 2021. One in five healthcare workers have quit their jobs since 2020, and it’s estimated that up to another 47% plan on leaving by 2025. In addition to those who have decided to quit, many physicians across several healthcare specialties are nearing retirement age; and that wave of retirement can be especially detrimental to the workers left behind. Inevitably, the long-term effects on both physician and hospital performance, and the quality of patient care, will be profoundly affected.

Implementing programs such as Upgraid™ by mend results in hospitals and clinicians feeling less burdened with pre- and post-operative care. By mitigating the physical and mental exhaustion, Upgraid™ presents a sustainable solution to diminish the rate of burnout, thus bringing down the number of workers who quit because of it. Once a boosted digital care platform is implemented, qualified health workers who understand the benefits of this innovative solution are more likely to return to, remain in, or join the healthcare industry. This, in turn, will certainly improve the career longevity of physicians, nurses, and other health professionals.

Hospitals across the country are grappling with pervasive staffing shortages. The states that are experiencing the most critical of these shortages, according to data released by the Department of Health and Human Services, are located in South Carolina, Georgia, Vermont, Delaware, and Michigan. When a facility has activated its contingency staffing strategy and has exhausted all options to address staffing needs, a “critical” designation is declared.

The typical challenges faced by hospitals due to staffing shortages include feeling pressure to consolidate and having to spend more on contract labor. It’s important to acknowledge that nationwide patient safety is at risk because of labor shortages. According to the data, many rural communities are currently experiencing the worst shortages.

With increased life expectancy in the U.S., there will be far more demand than supply of healthcare within the next few years, particularly among the aging population. Rising illness rates and the poor overall health of patients going into acute care are generating the perfect storm for a multi-pronged crisis. It’s crucial for the affected healthcare facilities to identify technologies that can alleviate the negative impact of the severe staffing shortage – before staff burnout brings the industry to its knees. Having lost an estimated $54 billion in net income during the pandemic, hospitals nationwide realize that strategic decisions about patient care must be made to move forward and to keep the industry sustainable.

Some hospitals have made a proactive decision to implement an SMS based and AI-enabled digital care platform, Upgraid™ by mend. This new, best-in-class perioperative patient optimization platform for total joint arthroplasty enables extended patient care beyond the hospital walls and allows further recovery in the home. Through the platform, patients receive hands-on coaching, support, guidance, and health monitoring from certified professionals. The remote monitoring triages critical questions through a team of registered nurses, lessening the number of patient calls to the hospital. The comprehensive Upgraid™ platform liberates the limited hospital staff to better manage their resources, allowing them to focus on their in-hospital service, which is highly beneficial to healthcare workers and patients alike. Upgraid™ is currently expanding across the U.S. and is expected to be in more than 20 hospitals by the end of 2023.

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