We can help when nurse
numbers don’t add up

It’s time to lighten the load for healthcare staff

We can help when nurse
numbers don’t add up

As healthcare services continue to labor under the strain of nursing shortages, providers are telling us they’re looking for new ways to lighten the load on remaining staff.

A perfect storm of COVID, combined with already existing stress points, means staffing levels are set to remain at the top of the agenda for hospitals and health centers as we progress through 2022.

This new normal means that the time has come for those businesses who haven’t already done so to be preparing more robust strategies for 2022 and beyond.

By the end of last year, evidence was mounting that for many of our career staff, physical and emotional exhaustion—aka “burnout”—had become a significant problem in the wake of COVID-19. An NPR report highlighted the pressures on those staff who worked through the peak of the crisis, but were still mentally and physically exhausted months later, at times unable to cope.

With the US military now supporting struggling staff, it’s clear that present healthcare systems are stretched well beyond their limits.

We can’t, though, lay all blame at the door of COVID-19. The stats and related studies have been telling us for quite a while that there are no longer enough nurses to care for everybody who needs nursing. Causes are numerous but include an aging population that’s experiencing more chronic illness, nurse burnout, high staff turnover, insufficient training opportunities, and inequitable workforce distribution—in addition, of course, to a global pandemic.

Burnout was also cited in a survey by the American Nurses Association which found that 23% of responding nurses said they intended to resign within six months. Findings in a report from McKinsey were similar, with 22% of nurses considering leaving the profession.

Healthcare providers are losing money as well as staff—from lost revenue (as nonurgent procedures are postponed) or via extra costs for hiring traveling nurses or joining the overheated bidding war to recruit new ones from overseas.

No wonder the focus now, more than ever, is on identifying efficient and cost-effective strategies to maximize the impact of skilled patient carers.

The McKinsey report concludes that while traumas of the past couple of years have exacerbated workforce vulnerabilities, they also provide “a unique opportunity to accelerate changes (for example, technology-enabled care models) and make bold investments in what the future of nursing could look like.”

The Gridspace Grace virtual agent enables healthcare providers to more conveniently and cost effectively close the gaps in care. Grace is a task-specific, next-generation platform for authoring and deploying virtual agents. With the most advanced, natural-sounding virtual nurses and administrators, and the ability to easily integrate with voice technology and data systems, Grace AI orchestration interweaves voice technology with existing human workflows.

Grace can capably triage patient symptoms, deal with admin and handle caller questions—routing them deeper into the hospital system when required. Grace deals with enquiries efficiently and empathetically, often indistinguishable from a human.

But even the best virtual agent on the market is not enough on its own. The most effective hybrid workforces of the future have great AI orchestration throughout, interweaving voice technology with existing human agent workflows to improve the performance and outcomes of both. The healthcare companies we partner with are a perfect example of this holistic approach. No one would question that a health professional is best equipped to deal with a medical emergency. But should highly skilled staff always be a health center’s first point of contact for initial assessment? Or expected to undertake repetitive form filling? Or arrange vaccines and routine preventative screenings?

Given the numbers, it’s no longer adding up.

To create the solutions your organization needs—and free up your staff to get on with what they do best—come and speak to us at www.gridspace.com.



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