How Conversational AI can help ease the current healthcare workforce crisis.
The healthcare staffing crisis is at a breaking point. Although the sector has faced labor shortages for years, the current mass exodus of burned-out employees and retiring healthcare professionals is like nothing we’ve seen before. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (via PwC), 2021 saw the highest number of nurses leaving the profession than any previous year.
The employment outlook for the next several years is equally dire. The American Hospital Association (via Oracle) anticipates that by 2033, the healthcare industry will face a shortage of as much as 124,000 physicians, and will need to hire a minimum of 200,000 nurses per year to match demand. Unfortunately, recent research suggests that the number of professionals leaving the healthcare workforce will drastically outweigh the number of those entering the industry.
Due to the staffing shortage and the ever-increasing demand for care, employees across the healthcare lifecycle are constantly overburdened and overwhelmed. And when healthcare professionals are pushed to their limits, that’s when the safety of patients and quality of care are most at risk.
With these serious issues, it is vital for healthcare leaders to look for innovative ways to re-write the narrative of healthcare’s future. In fact, survey data indicates that one of the top predictions for providers in 2023 will be to invest in tools and solutions to alleviate the burden of administrative tasks, which are some of the most time-consuming yet easily automated job functions. As stated by Deloitte, these tasks — such as record keeping, appointment scheduling, follow-up communications and others — are recognized as primary contributors to healthcare worker burnout.
For this reason, hiring digital agents, powered by Conversational AI, to offload administrative work from human staff is a necessary step to alleviate the strain on healthcare workers, attract and retain healthcare professionals, and fuel the employee pipeline for years to come.
Many leading healthcare organizations have already taken the leap with Conversational AI and are experiencing substantial benefits. Let’s take a closer look at how this technology empowers healthcare professionals by exploring real-life examples from the industry.
Working for an AI-Enabled Health System
Health systems and providers can deploy digital agents to offload repetitive patient-facing clerical duties from human staff. Instead of speaking with a human to schedule appointments, fill prescriptions or answer questions, patients can speak with Conversational AI agents like Amelia to resolve their requests. In fact, by leveraging Amelia’s integrations with EPIC and Cerner, healthcare organizations can deliver accurate and personalized patient services at scale.
Hospitals and clinics can also leverage Conversational AI to support healthcare workers by automating redundant job functions and simplifying task lists. For example, one of Australia’s leading disability service providers Aruma hired Amelia as a digital assistant to help staff members record shift notes and complete reports, making record-keeping faster and more accurate. Amelia also helps employees at home healthcare company Aveanna with common requests, such as resetting passwords, unlocking accounts and verifying vaccinations. By streamlining these time-consuming yet critical processes, staff members can quickly get back to delivering superior patient care.
In addition to creating a more efficient and healthy work environment, automating administrative tasks can reduce overall operating costs for hospitals and clinics. As a recent report from McKinsey and Harvard (via Healthcare Dive) indicates, the healthcare industry could save $200B to $360B each year during the next five years by leveraging AI technologies, with “20% of the AI-driven savings” coming from a reduction in administrative costs.
With healthcare staffing on life support, continuing with business-as-usual is not an option for today’s hospitals and clinics. Executives must look at investing now in digital agents and Conversational AI, or face chronic understaffing for the foreseeable future.