According to the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA), 73% of medical practices consider staffing the biggest pandemic challenge. This guide will explore the alarming turnover rate of healthcare staff and how telehealth solutions can help cut costs.
Overview of Healthcare Staff’s Turnover Rate
Healthcare workers comprised nearly 13% out of 19 million employees who quit their jobs within five months. Only three industries comprised more than healthcare: retail trade, food service, and professional business services.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in August 2021, the unemployment rate in the Healthcare and Social Assistance sector was 3.9%, compared to the overall rate of 5.2% across all industries. There was a more significant difference for the hospital subsector, whose unemployment rate was 2.7%.
In reality, the turnover of healthcare professionals isn’t a recent phenomenon caused by the pandemic. It is a problem that hospitals and medical practices have dealt with for a long time. A report released in 2018 from the MGMA showed that the primary care specialty had significant turnover rates within various categories of staff, including those related to the management of revenue cycle and medical billing (RCM).
- Support staff for business operations: 9.92%
- The staff of clinical support: 15.83%
- Front office Support staff: 20%
For hospitals in general, the 2021 NSI National Health Care Retention and Staffing Report for RNs compared turnover rates across all hospital staff members between 2016 and 2020. The rates for the year consistently exceeded 15% in all years.
It is equivalent to a cumulative five-year turnover rate of 90.8%.
How Telehealth Solutions Can Help Practices
An AMA study found that telehealth solutions can help hospitals and medical practices save, on average, $19-$121 for every patient compared to in-person visits.
Discussed below are a few main reasons that make telemedicine a cost-effective solution.
1. Patient Retention and New Patient Opportunities
One advantage of telehealth apps is increased patient retention for your office. Because the hours can be more flexible, patients are more likely to find a time that fits their primary care physician’s schedule, rather than making an appointment with a new provider.
Patients are also discouraged from visiting an emergency room to address issues that an appointment might be able to address. Since they can attend a virtual visit during off hours to express their concerns – a quick, unplanned meeting can be easily fit in your calendar online, rather than at the office. It will save both your and your patient’s time.
Telehealth apps not only help reduce patient costs, but they also help keep patients with you. Ultimately, every medical appointment your patients have outside of your practice means a loss of revenue you could be making through virtual visits.
2. Overhead Cost Reduction
Telehealth visits require a stable internet connection or a phone line. The rapid growth of administration costs related to legal and insurance costs, instead of actual medical care, is also straining healthcare systems.
Using an easier system, such as telehealth services, may help alleviate these burdens the virtual health system can help cut out or lower some of these costs if used correctly.
There are numerous benefits for clinicians, such as decreased administrative expenses and the possibility of practicing more autonomously. Working virtually also means that you can work more flexible schedules, which will reduce the expense of working continuously in an office.
Not only can you cut or modify your working hours, but also that of your employees, if they’re paid on an hourly basis. Moreover, a flexible schedule can increase the satisfaction of your employees, which in turn will reduce the costs of high turnover.
3. Legal Risk Mitigation
Using telehealth services, you may experience a lower risk of mistreating a patient through improper documentation and follow-up. According to American Medical News, one of the main problems that resulted in lawsuits for practices was inadequate documentation and the inability to follow up properly with patients.
If a physician makes an emergency call while their office is closed, without the possibility of meeting remotely, they may not be able to document the appointment appropriately. As a result, it could lead to costly lawsuits.
But, with properly designed technology for telehealth, the documentation process should be simple and effective. It may not only help save time and cash but also assist in preventing future lawsuits.
This guide provides an overview of the employee turnover situation in the healthcare space and we discussed how facilities can add new revenue streams through telehealth services. However, there several other benefits of telehealth, including enabling healthcare organizations to conduct interviews online through secure video conferencing, which may further aid practices in ultimately reducing the high costs of staff turnover.