Four Ways to Improve Retention and Decrease Turnover for Your Healthcare Staff, Part II

Blog Posts  |  14 September 2023

Written by: Auren Weinberg M.D., M.B.A. and Cheryl Reifsnyder, PhD

The clinical workforce in the U.S. has long struggled with high employee turnover. In 2022, turnover rates for different segments of the healthcare industry ranged from 19.5% in hospitals to 65% among at-home care providers to 94% for nursing homes. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the U.S. healthcare industry lost more than 500,000 employees per month in 2022. This level of employee turnover creates a huge financial and logistical burden for healthcare providers (HCPs). Employee turnover rates have risen high enough to seriously threaten the ability of many facilities to deliver safe and adequate patient care.

High employee turnover creates both direct and indirect costs for healthcare organizations. In addition to the costs of recruiting, onboarding, and training new workers, there are costs associated with hiring temporary staff to cover empty positions and costs for departing employees, such as severance pay, unemployment insurance claims, and ongoing benefits. Indirect costs include reduced productivity when an employee leaves, the cost of substandard patient care created by unsafe staff-to-patient ratios, and the cost of lower morale among remaining staff.

On average, it costs between 6 and 9 months of an employee’s salary for turnover of a regular position. Replacing a highly specialized healthcare professional may cost up to 200% of that employee’s annual salary.

These factors make it more critical than ever for healthcare organizations to improve retention among their existing staff. In our last article, we looked at 2 of 4 strategies to help you reduce employee turnover more effectively:

  1. Be willing to pay more for the right team member.

  2. Rethink leadership styles and methods.

Keep reading for 2 more strategies to help you improve your employees’ work-related well-being—and a curated list of technological solutions to make your task a little easier.

#3. Provide recognition for good work

One often-overlooked method for improving employee retention is recognition: open acknowledgment and praise of an employee’s behavior or achievement, used to express appreciation, motivate, and reinforce desired behavior.

Research has found that employees are more than twice as likely to be highly engaged when they anticipate recognition, and employee engagement directly affects the likelihood of retaining that employee.

When employees are recognized and appreciated for their hard work, it helps them feel that their efforts have a purpose and that they are valuable team contributors. A kind word or moment of recognition can significantly affect an employee’s outlook, helping them shift from feeling overstressed and underappreciated to more positive and motivated to improve.

Research shows that when employees are engaged and motivated, they become more productive. Their quality of work improves. Recognition programs can also help improve employee satisfaction and work enjoyment and mitigate stress and absenteeism.

However, national surveys reveal that 50% of today’s workforce do not feel valued, or feel only slightly valued, by their employers. Data show that employees who feel valued are less likely to reduce their working hours or leave their positions; lack of recognition is one of the top 3 reasons most people leave their jobs.

Authentic recognition serves 3 key purposes:

  • Showcasing goal achievement: A simple “thank you” can be enough to show genuine appreciation.
  • Motivating effort: Recognition doesn’t have to be solely for accomplishments or performance but can also celebrate effort.
  • Reinforcing values: Recognition shows employees what behaviors are valued in the organization.

It is important to realize that different types of employees benefit from different types of recognition. Some appreciate public praise, whereas an introvert might prefer something more subtle or private. Recognition doesn’t necessarily have to be a grand gesture; a Deloitte study found that 85% of employees were satisfied with a simple “thank you” for their daily efforts or accomplishments. Make sure to encourage employees using the types of recognition that will be most meaningful to them.

#4. Automate processes to reduce manual effort and stress

Another key method for improving employee retention is by reducing work stress—and one way to do this is to use new technologies to automate stressful administrative and repetitive tasks. Automation provides opportunities for more effective and efficient workflows, which can help mitigate staff shortages in 4 ways:

1. Automation can reduce workload and, as a result, increase staff capacity.

Repetitive tasks are perfect for automation. Shifting the workload from staff to software means fewer staff are required, allowing those remaining to focus on more complex issues.

For instance, implementing online scheduling and automated registration can ease the burden on front-desk staff as patient volumes increase. Automated pre-registration enables patients to fill in their correct information before their appointment, freeing staff from spending entire days resolving data input errors. These self-service tools can eliminate labor-intensive data entry and can also reduce call center queues.

2. Automation can improve operational performance, freeing resources for reinvestment in the workforce.

Automation is not just replacing human effort with software—it can be used to strengthen overall operational performance. For instance, automated revenue cycle tools can complete data entry tasks, eligibility verifications, and pre-authorizations. Automation allows these tasks to be completed more quickly, with fewer errors, than if staff completed them.

When data-driven tasks are completed more accurately and efficiently, the entire revenue cycle moves more rapidly, leading to faster reimbursement.

3. Automation can create better experiences for staff and patients.

Existing staff may worry that increased automation will make their jobs redundant, but automation tools should be viewed as complementary to staff rather than replacing them. Automation can remove time-consuming, tedious tasks, creating better staff experiences. The user-friendly interface gives Patient Access, Claims, and Billing teams all the information they need to help patients more quickly and accurately. Shifting to online and mobile options creates more convenient, more satisfying user experiences for patients as well.

The result? A happier workforce, healthier revenue cycle, and better patient experience.

4. Automation can help support nurses, PAs, clinicians, and other healthcare workers

Clinicians also face high workloads and high stress levels. Automating portions of their clinical workflows can remove repetitive and redundant administrative tasks from their processes, freeing them for more meaningful interactions with patients.

Similarly, data-driven automation can help combat HCPs’ high stress by providing insights to facilitate streamlined workflows. Data-driven automation can provide real-time patient insights; predictive analytics, which enable informed decision-making and proactive patient management; and assistance optimizing workflows and improving patient care. Robotic process automation can help automate clinicians’ data entry, populating electronic health records with patient information with a single click—saving time and increasing accuracy.

Veradigm Ambulatory Suite solutions: automating time-consuming tasks

Veradigm Ambulatory Suite solutions can help mitigate staff stress by automating repetitive processes that may contribute to staff dissatisfaction and employee turnover.

Veradigm Electronic Health Record (EHR)

Veradigm EHR is an ambulatory EHR platform designed to support the needs of busy provider practices by automating numerous time-consuming administrative tasks. It can help you streamline clinical workflows, improve practice operational efficiency, and keep up with regulatory changes—all while helping you to provide more informed patient care.

Features that aid practice efficiency include:

  • Visit templates: Templates expedite patient documentation by enabling all information to be populated with a single click based on patients’ previous visits or conditions.
  • Smart lists: These lists trend providers’ and practices’ ordering habits to document what has been ordered most often for specific diagnoses.
  • Care plans and goals: These frameworks support users in creating, defining, and tracking patient-specific care plans and goals.

Veradigm Practice Management

Veradigm Practice Management is a comprehensive revenue cycle management solution for physician practices of all sizes and specialties. It can boost practices’ operational efficiencies and productivity with features such as:

  • Efficient and flexible scheduling: Maximizes provider schedules with tools to help manage walk-ins, cancellations, and recurring appointments.
  • Guided scheduling: Uses Artificial Intelligence to automate individual providers’ scheduling preferences, reduce schedule churn, and optimize schedules.
  • Improved accuracy: Minimizes errors with automated, customized claims management workflows that allow you to review and resolve claims before submitting to payers.
  • Timeliness: Helps practices to obtain real-time referrals, verify insurance eligibility, handle complex insurance plans, and do patient collections at the time of visit.
  • Automation: Enables users to distribute work queues automatically with pre-defined work lists, based on user preferences.
  • Streamlined processes: Advanced check-in features streamline front-desk processes; guided workflows help improve collection rates and workflows.

Veradigm Revenue Cycle Services

Veradigm Revenue Cycle Services (RCS) provides administrative and financial management solutions to improve efficiencies and ensure you get the most from your business and IT investments. Veradigm RCS can help you boost practice efficiency and productivity, increasing cash flow. This solution helps you stay up-to-date with the latest billing and revenue cycle regulation changes, including transitions to value-based care and complex billing regulations due to MACRA, Meaningful Use, and ICD-10 updates. Veradigm RCS is flexible, scalable, transparent, efficient, and effective.

Some of Veradigm RCS’s key features include:

  • Scheduling and registration: Automates tasks and maximizes scheduling.
  • Eligibility and authorization verification: Checks patient eligibility before visits to accelerate reimbursement.
  • Claims and denial management: Reduce denials and process a greater number of claims.
  • Billing and collections: Recover more payments and reduce patient bad debt.
  • Account management and advanced analytics: Access deeper insight into financial health and gain expert best practice recommendations.

Veradigm eChart Courier™

Veradigm eChart Courier™ is an automated solution that enables practices to electronically and securely send and receive medical records.

HCPs receive over 100 million medical record requests yearly; 90% of those records are still exchanged via manual methods such as traditional paper or analog fax. As value-based reimbursement models become more common, health plan audits of medical records will also increase. Efficiency in conducting these chart audits will become even more critical—a need that Veradigm eChart Courier can fulfill.

This solution can save practices both time and resources by automating the chart retrieval process. It integrates directly into your EHR for seamless access, provides data in an easy-to-use format for health plan analysis, and ensures security and HIPAA compliance by sending all data in an encrypted format. In addition, Veradigm eChart Courier is available to medical practices using a variety of EHR platforms, as well as its own Veradigm EHR and Practice Fusion solutions at no additional cost.

Contact Veradigm

Contact us today to learn more about how Veradigm can help you streamline work processes, optimize workflows, or harness automation in some other fashion—and thereby help you reduce employee stress and improve employee retention.

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