With the COVID-19 pandemic came hardships, uncertainty and a new perception of what is considered “normal.” Shifting demands, especially within the healthcare space, caused leaders to reevaluate everything from technology and internal processes to staff needs and the patient experience. These unprecedented times have helped shed some valuable insight on gaps within the healthcare system that can be improved upon.

After over a year of grappling with the coronavirus, here are some key takeaways for hospitals and healthcare facilities to learn from. 

  1. Staffing

At the height of the pandemic, hospitals and medical facilities across the nation faced a stark and harrowing reality: a massive shortage of critical healthcare personnel. In fact, nearly half of all hospitals in America lacked the available respiratory therapists and intensivists needed to provide proper care for COVID-19 patients. This was not only detrimental to patient safety, but it resulted in long hours and back-to-back shifts for many healthcare workers. 

Without an adequately staffed facility, healthcare workers faced burnout and psychological repercussions, like anxiety and depression. Organizations are now adopting flexible staffing models to protect worker and patient safety, as well as implementing telehealth solutions for increased access to care. 

2.      Bed capacity

As the spread of the virus intensified and infections increased, hospitals simply didn’t have the supplies or resources needed to care for patients. Patients who were not in life or death situations were forced to delay operations or treatments in order to make room for those impacted by COVID-19. This required medical facilities to prioritize emergency cases over patients with health issues unrelated to the virus, negatively impacting the wellbeing of their community.

As a result, many hospitals are increasing their bed capacity and PPE supply to accommodate all patients in need of care should COVID infections spike once again. The increase in bed capacity ushered a need to hire more healthcare staff to care for patients affected by the virus. Population health has a crucial impact on healthcare response within the community.

3.      Adaptability

The COVID-19 pandemic forced healthcare workers to face a myriad of uncertainties – like navigating an unfamiliar virus. As information regarding the coronavirus evolved each day, healthcare organizations had to act swiftly and strategically to meet changing demands. 

Operating within this type of environment has enabled healthcare executives and staff alike to improve upon their adaptive response protocols – which can be utilized to handle any unexpected circumstances that may arise in the future.

The pandemic has caused hospitals and medical facilities to reassess their approach to staffing and patient care. For instance, digital appointments and telemedicine have now paved the way for a more efficient medical response for those not in immediate danger. 

Furthermore, new protocols established by healthcare facilities helped slow the spread of the virus, allowing workers to focus their efforts on treating those affected, as well as those with unrelated healthcare conditions. 

Here at Polaris, we’re devoted to providing you with innovative and personalized healthcare recruitment solutions to ensure you have the best possible workers making decisions during these crucial periods. Learn more about Polaris or contact us for staffing recruitment needs.