The healthcare industry has struggled long before the current public health crisis emerged. Over the past few years, there has been a significant decline in positive operating margins. But, to make matters worse, the COVID-19 pandemic doubled down on the direness of the situation by adding fear and uncertainty to the already brewing storm. This came in the form of not knowing when the pandemic will end, volumes will return to normal, and elective procedures will resume.
All of these aspects are piled on top of the existing circumstances that already faced the industry. A recent report published by the American Hospital Association found that the median margin for hospitals in the U.S. before the pandemic was just 3.5%. Also included in this report was the prediction that, by the end of 2021, nearly half of all hospitals could have negative operating margins, with rural hospitals feeling the effect more acutely.
Beyond the issue of continued operation is the impact that it has had on clinicians, leading to increased levels of burnout. According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, “Burnout is a long-term stress reaction marked by emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and a lack of sense of personal accomplishment.” In 2019, before the pandemic began, 40% of physicians reported feeling burned out. Since the pandemic, burnout has continued to rise, with nearly 30% of clinicians now saying they have considered leaving healthcare altogether as a result.
Physicians that desire to leave their profession are a significant problem for the healthcare industry and the clinicians who remain and continue to join the workforce. This potential shortage of clinicians, estimated by a study published by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) to be up to 124,000 by 2034, means future physicians will face even longer hours and greater caseloads, which can significantly impact the care quality and safety for patients in this future.
To address declining hospital margins and clinician burnout, there is a solution that can help; partnering with a multi-specialty healthcare management company. According to Becker’s Hospital Review, “It has been well-documented that clinical departments that rely on external expertise can see improvements in patient flow and patient satisfaction scores due to the establishment of shared best practices and years of experience focusing on key metrics.” This is what a partner can do for an organization.
The future is uncertain, especially for the healthcare industry and its employees, but an experienced partner like Adfinitas Health can help. Adfinitas Health’s experienced hospitalist medical directors oversee the financial and clinical care components of your program, while you maintain complete control of overall operations. We deliver consistent, high-quality care through continual communications with your hospital staff, your patients, and their families.
Adfinitas Health services include inpatient, critical care, observation, palliative care, inpatient rehabilitation, surgical co-management/assisting, pediatrics, post-acute and ED services. Learn more about Adfinitas Health by visiting www.AdfinitasHealth.com.