At the time of global health crises, specifically the recent pandemic, our doctors and nurses emerged as frontline soldiers to save humanity against this deadly disease. While we celebrate the excellence of our healthcare professionals, certain challenges related to the healthcare administration are still there, hindering effective care delivery in medical facilities.
Since health administrators are responsible for overseeing all the operations in healthcare, identifying some of these issues is crucial to improve healthcare delivery. In this article, we’ll review some major problems associated with healthcare administration.
- Shortage of professionals
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, around 500,000 RNs will retire by the year 2022. This means that the healthcare industry will have to recruit over a million nurses this decade. It is worth mentioning that nurses’ retirement isn’t the only reason behind the lack of nurses, as other factors such as increased workload, nurses’ burnout, ineffective team management, and payment structures, etc., compel nurses to leave their job.
Some of these issues are due to the lack of effective health administrators and their failure to retain the current staff.
Presently, several wellness programs are initiated as a strategy to retain the current healthcare workforce. Besides, most hospitals have partnered with nursing schools to hire fresh nursing graduates to meet supply and demand requirements. Similarly, hospitals are further encouraging health administrators to enroll in online MHA programs to mitigate the current healthcare needs and improve decision-making skills.
- Ineffective Payment Model
In the US, many healthcare professionals are paid based on the number of patients in comparison with the treatment quality. Several experts regarded it as an ineffective reimbursement model, as patients have to wait for long hours or sometimes days to get the required treatment which ultimately worsens their condition. However, in the current times, the US healthcare industry needs to focus on a value-based payment model which is central to the quality of patient care rather than quantity. This newly developed model encourages staff to meet the standard process of patient care instead of prescribing a long list of treatments that might be unaffordable for some patients.
Although this new payment model seems to be effective, its implementation in the healthcare industry is still a greater challenge as it requires redesigning the overall practices involved in healthcare delivery.
- Rising Healthcare Costs and Reduced Medicare
We all know that healthcare costs a lot for an average American! Even though the US spends around $3.6 trillion on healthcare, these spendings aren’t enough and may exceed to $6.2 trillion by 2028. Undoubtedly, the increase in healthcare costs serves as a major factor that restricts people from benefiting through healthcare facilities. It is, of course, one of the greater challenges for hospital executives to combat these rising costs while maintaining the hospital’s budget, specifically during the pandemic.
Similarly, the lack of Medicare reimbursements is another major issue. According to administrators, Medicare payments didn’t sufficiently cover overall costs of care delivery, leaving them with a budget deficit. Moreover, the coronavirus pandemic brought a surge of unemployment, introducing patients with no insurance or inadequate insurance plan, ultimately affecting the quality of care.
- Telehealth and Protection against hackers
Virtual healthcare has become a popular facility during this pandemic since physicians can diagnose and treat patients without physical contact. Patients now have access to medical care regardless of their current location. But the expansion of telemedicine is also accompanied by challenges such as cybersecurity issues and patient privacy concerns.
Since hackers are getting smarter, ensuring cybersecurity is getting difficult after every passing day. According to the reports, approximately 50% increase in cyberattacks has been recorded since the rise of the pandemic. Experts also believe that the healthcare industry may fall victim to data breaches, ransomware, and DDoS attacks, among many others. Thus, it’s become imperative to hire cybersecurity experts since these professionals can deduce and prevent the healthcare sector from recurring cybersecurity issues.
- Personal Safety and lack of PPEs
It’s common for health workers to face violence from the patient’s family and suffer from outbursts by a deceased person’s relatives. But such events have multiplied as coronavirus has affected the lives of over half a million Americans. A report by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) revealed that workplace violence in the healthcare industry was four times more common than in the private sector. These occurrences are frequent in the ER as well!
In addition to this, primary caregivers find themselves vulnerable to contract COVID-19 due to the lack of PPEs in hospitals. Over 3,600 health workers have died since this pandemic in the US alone! Last year, workers were even forced to reuse some of their protective equipment since there weren’t enough masks/gloves to fulfill their needs. Such instances not just demotivate healthcare professionals but also endanger their well-being. Hence, healthcare administrators must strive to make the hospital a safer place to work while raising the safety of healthcare professionals as the primary concern.
In the current times, the healthcare sector has to deal with several challenges after every passing day. Despite several efforts by healthcare professionals, certain issues still need their attention. Some of these include lack of workforce, ineffective payment models, increasing healthcare costs and cybersecurity issues, etc. Hence, regulatory authorities need to mitigate these issues to improve the quality of healthcare and meet the current healthcare requirements of the US population.