“You cannot mandate productivity; you must provide the tools to let people become their best.” – Steve Jobs
An organization is only as successful and profitable as its people. Human resources (HR) or people are any business’ most valuable asset and managing them is the most critical role for managers. HR managers need to diligently plan and hire the right people with the right abilities for the right role. Healthcare resource management takes on even greater importance as we’re dealing with the lives and health of people. This unique industry (which includes hospitals, clinics, insurance companies, etc.) requires HR managers to formulate policies that ensure quality care for patients and meet the healthcare facility’s goals while nurturing the people who care for and treat patients.
What Are the Resources in The Healthcare Sector?
Demand for healthcare is constant and always high. Hospital and clinic managers need to ensure that adequate resources are always available.
- Clinical staff providing healthcare to the patients (doctors, nurses, dentists, pharmacists, physiotherapists, etc.)
- Support staff and management to keep the facility running smoothly (hospital administrators, cleaners, ambulance drivers, accountants, etc.)
- Medical supplies and equipment (medicines, medical supplies, diagnostic machines, etc.)
- Facilities and infrastructure (hospitals, diagnostic and research labs, ambulances, etc.)
- Financial resources for the operation, maintenance and regular up-gradation of all resources
The right resources (with all the requisite skills and expertise) must be available at all times and must also be utilized optimally. This is even more complicated when several specialities and departments share the same resources.
Human Resource Management in the Healthcare Industry
Hiring the right resources and managing them is a top priority for any business, but it is of paramount importance in the healthcare sector. Human resource managers here do more than just hire clinical staff. Healthcare resource allocation and management is a specialized field that deals with people who hold others’ lives in their hands. The weight of patient outcomes is shared by the HR managers as well.
What does healthcare resource management entail?
- Hiring the right people with the right expertise and skillsets – clinical as well as non-clinical staff
- Identifying the skill gaps and providing training and development to keep all staff up-to-date
- Ensuring adequate facilities and infrastructure for patients and staff
- Advising management on salary and benefits for employees
- Formulating policies to ensure employee retention
- Ensuring adherence to healthcare regulations and compliance
- Communicating with all staff on new policies
HR managers need to be constantly on their toes. They are indirectly responsible for the care that patients receive. By safeguarding the interests of the people who look after patients, they ensure quality service and care for patients. Their work is critical to the well-being of many and is often stressful.
Ten Major Resource Management Challenges in the Healthcare Industry
The years of the pandemic have underscored the importance of healthcare and the effect it has on the global economy. There is an unprecedented demand for quality resources with a lag in supply. Healthcare HR leaders are facing the unenvious task of trying to match the two while prioritizing patient and employee welfare.
What resource management challenges are healthcare resource managers currently facing?
1. Talent shortage:
The pandemic blew the demand for patient care through the roof! Hiring well-trained and skilled staff is becoming increasingly more difficult. There is fierce competition amongst healthcare facilities to hire staff, and the supply of trained personnel is not keeping up. A lack of trained staff can mean life or death and hiring people with the right expertise and skillsets is paramount.
2. Involved hiring process:
Resource managers must keep in mind patient care and safety, and meticulously validate all certifications of clinical staff. This makes the hiring process more time-consuming and complicated. Hiring non-medical staff also requires careful background checks keeping patient safety and privacy laws in mind.
3. Salary concerns:
As demand for resources goes up and demand remains static or lowers, resource managers face other challenges in hiring. Resource managers often rely on offering higher salaries to attract talent. Larger private hospitals have an edge here over smaller and unaided healthcare facilities that find it difficult to compete on salaries. For them hiring and retaining staff becomes even more challenging.
4. Excess workload:
Healthcare has always been an overburdened sector, with demand far outstripping the supply. Extremely high doctor (or nurse) to patient ratios are a matter of grave concern. Clinical staff often works double shifts with inadequate sleep and time-off. This can have a direct and adverse effect on the care and comfort they offer patients and their families. Healthcare resource managers must deal with over-worked and under-appreciated staff.
5. Employee turnover and retention:
Retaining qualified and skilled employees is one of the biggest healthcare resource challenges. As demand keeps rising, healthcare facilities increasingly struggle with keeping the staff they have. Dissatisfied and overworked employees often leave when they have other job opportunities to choose from. Younger staff also has other priorities besides higher salaries and are looking for more benefits, career growth and training options.
6. Employee burnout:
While burnout can happen in any job, it is much more intense in the healthcare industry. Staff shortages, overloaded work schedules and high turnover rates put a lot of burden on the employees. The toll of clinical work is not just physical exhaustion, but mental and emotional as well. The staff feels overworked and underappreciated. Clinical staff often feel emotionally distant from their patients, and unable to form a connection. This also has a direct impact on patient care. Managers need to constantly be on the lookout for warning signs of burnout and intervene timely.
7. Training and career development:
Healthcare professionals need to be trained on new advances in the medical arena and must stay up-to-date on their licenses and certifications. Training on compliance, patient privacy laws, personal safety, sexual harassment and other workplace issues, is equally important. Junior employees want training to go up the career ladder and look to their employers to support them in this.
8. Constantly changing technology at work:
Like most industries, healthcare tool is digitizing rapidly. Patient charts, work schedules and workflows, and even certain medical procedures are all being digitalized. Resources must be trained to keep up if quality care is to be provided to patients. Employees are also looking to hone and acquire new skills.
9. Poor supervisor-subordinate relationship:
Many employees leave their jobs when they find an unsatisfactory fit with their bosses. Supervisors must support and mentor staff and help them grow.
10. Lack of job satisfaction.
Junior clinical staff, especially nurses, often feel they are capable of much more than they are allowed to do. Employees feel underutilized and may not perform to their optimum levels.
Healthcare Resource Management with Resource Management Software
The medical field is stressful and the people managing these resources need to be at the top of their game. Healthcare resource management requires dealing with growing demand and shrinking resource availability. HR managers can resolve these challenges by offering creative solutions and utilizing the tools of resource management software like eResource Scheduler.
More efficient resource scheduling and utilization:
Managers can use Gantt charts and calendars to check the schedules of resources. This helps them ensure that resources are not overworked or underutilized.
Certifications and skillsets of each resource are available in a central place and managers can customize the deadlines for recertifications and license renewals each. This helps managers keep track and ensure that all resources are up-to-date on their certifications. Managers can also identify skill gaps and arrange training and development programs to bridge these.
Secure documentation and compliance:
Healthcare Resource management software allows managers to keep employee and patient data secure.
People are increasingly looking for other benefits like work-life balance, career advancement opportunities and flexible scheduling. Resource management software equips managers with the data they need to formulate policies that meet these employee needs.
Keep employees engaged:
Communication and delegation are key to keeping employees interested in their jobs. eResource Scheduler allows managers to easily do this with their clinical as well as non-medical staff.
Resource management software like eResource Scheduler enables managers to optimize resource utilization, and improve employee engagement and retention, which will lead to better quality care for patients.