Every aspect of the healthcare industry is feeling the impact of both the COVID-19 pandemic and the pandemic response. From financial strain, to managing over-worked and over-stressed frontline providers, to handling layoffs and implementing virtual care solutions, hospitals and healthcare systems across the country have put rapid changes in place to meet evolving needs and challenges. Executives are asking strategic questions about what the future may look like, how regulations and reimbursements may adapt and what their leadership teams should look like to best sever their patients and their communities. It is now clear that, from the top down, healthcare teams will be addressing organizational structure and defining new roles to better navigate the shifting industry landscape.
Challenges and Opportunities
For many healthcare leaders, the growing opportunity to innovate is the one silver lining to the dark cloud over the industry in 2020. With the shutdown of many traditionally profitable healthcare services, organizations continue to face limited revenue streams, while also handling increasing numbers of high-intensity patients. During this time, many forward-thinking leaders are demonstrating their ability to pivot and utilize resources creatively through innovations such as implementing Telehealth solutions, creating community outreach programs and establishing reliable supply chain relationships to ensure access to personal protective equipment (PPE). These strategic changes have also presented opportunities to revisit the structure and make-up of healthcare teams to support these new initiatives.
New Structures for Strategic Healthcare Teams
New roles are emerging within healthcare institutions interested in continuing to innovate and push the needle forward for the industry. These new roles will allow organizations to realign healthcare teams, as well as present new opportunities and challenges for recruitment. Some areas of opportunity:
Telehealth.The rapid ramping-up of digital health options has created an enormous need for team members and leadership in the space of virtual care. COVID-19 has greatly increased the push for innovation in the areas of remote monitoring, telemedicine and applications for disease management. In 2019, venture capital investment in digital health grew to $7.4 billion and that number continues to rise. From upgrading and managing new servers to establishing and monitoring patient connectivity, to understanding and examining the data gained from new technologies, the potential for new roles within the digital health space are unlimited at both the front-line and leadership levels.
Patient admissions. The role of patient admissions has always been a critical function. In the time of COVID-19, it has become crystal clear how vital this service is in both directing patient traffic and maintaining a safe care environment for providers and patients. In addition to adding resources to help screen patients for the COVID-19 virus, many organizations are looking for strategic ways to optimize the admissions process. This includes adding roles for managing non-emergent versus emergent patients, identifying ways to optimize digital health resources and identifying opportunities to refer to community health partners when appropriate.
Community-wellness and population health. The shift from volume-based to value-based care began in the healthcare industry much before the crisis of 2020. The goal of lowering the cost while increasing the quality of care to generate improved outcomes continues to be a focus. However, the component of community care and population health needs came to the forefront during the pandemic. Now, many organizations are dedicating specific roles to managing and measuring community needs and data, while ensuring open communication is established and on-going with community leaders to keep the healthcare organization in front of any emerging concerns.
Mental health. While the stigma around mental health in the US has slowly been eroding, the pandemic pushed mental and emotional care into the spotlight. The strain of working remotely, job loss, homeschooling, fear of the virus and, in some cases, the loss of loved ones, brought into harsh focus the importance of mental and emotional health. As the industry accepts that the long-term mental effects of the virus are not yet clear, there is also growing acceptance that mental health must remain a top concern. Healthcare organizations are not only re-designing their internal education and training teams to increase awareness and understanding of the mind-body connection, but they are adding team members to provide digital health solutions for mental health.
One Step at a Time
These emerging areas for new roles in healthcare are also creating new recruitment opportunities. The candidates needed to fill these roles must possess new skillsets, must be adaptable, and must be quick to learn and eager to innovate. The connection between community and the delivery of care can also have an impact on healthcare recruitment in these emerging roles, allowing for team members and leaders with more diverse skills and backgrounds to enter the healthcare industry.
As organizations push forward with the goal of providing the best care for their communities, identifying areas of growth for their teams and remaining in front of new recruitment opportunities will be key. The executive search experts at Cejka Search are ready to connect and help navigate through these new challenges. You can reach them here.