On the latest edition of the Medtech Business Academy podcast (MBA Ep.30), special guest, Dr. Lewis Perkins, shared his insights on the present and future of healthcare. As the Chief Nursing Officer (CNO) & VP of Patient Care Services at a 400 bed facility since 2021, Dr. Perkins has a unique perspective on the persistent staffing challenges that healthcare providers face and the crucial role of labor optimization for caregivers when considering adopting new products.
As we heard on the previous podcast (MBA Ep. 29) with Nurse Manager Crystal Wagner, Dr. Perkins has also experienced an exodus of experience in his nursing population. According to a recent article on beckershospitalreview.com, “more than 800,000 registered nurses are projected to retire by 2027, with nearly half of them leaving the workforce within the next five years.”1 The study also found that "the pandemic has exacerbated the nursing shortage and increased the workload and burnout of nurses.”1 Twenty top healthcare networks report more than $15 billion in combined losses from 20222. With 50-60% of budgets dedicated to labor, it is an easy target for cost cutting. Clearly the problem is set to get worse, so how are hospitals going to react?
One solution, an on-demand and virtual experienced clinician, has been successfully implemented in several areas of Dr. Perkins' facilities. When a bedside nurse faces an issue, an experienced nurse can be instantly contacted for guidance. The nurse on the floor gets coaching in an unfamiliar situation, and the experienced nurses enjoy the ability to work remotely, away from the stresses of the bedside. Patient outcomes and satisfaction have improved as a result of the program, and more importantly the nurses immediately felt the benefit to their own lives.
Virtual nursing models have begun to transform the industry, but adoption of new products will continue to rely on several factors. First and foremost is going to be the acceptance of the clinician end-user. If your product isn’t welcomed on the floor, then there is no chance it will be welcomed in the office. With employee retention already such a challenge, forcing an unpopular change is not on the agenda of any executive.
Additionally, the impact on budgets - both directly and indirectly - cannot be overstated. Providers are trying to catch-up from losses sustained during COVID, and they are expecting industry to be a partner in the effort. The modern CNO is thinking about the dollars spent today, and the dollars saved tomorrow through efficiencies.
Throughout the interview, Dr. Perkins reminds us that you must understand and address the priority challenges facing clinical leaders as people, not just as titles. Learn about providers' strategic directives, what pressures they are feeling from above and below, and show how your product can fit seamlessly into the workflow they currently have. To paraphrase Dr. Perkins: Vendors who take the time to listen and provide relevant solutions that address labor cost reduction and quality of care will have a competitive advantage in closing system-wide sales.
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A Special Thank You to Dr. Lewis Perkins
1Dea, Bari Faye. "Crisis looms as 800,000 more nurses plan to exit workforce by 2027: study." Becker's Hospital Review, 2 Sep. 2021, https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/nursing/crisis-looms-as-800-000-more-nurses-plan-to-exit-workforce-by-2027-study.html.
2Condon, Alan and Thomas, Nick: "20 health systems reporting losses in 2022."
Becker's Hospital Review, 13 Jan. 2022, https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/finance/20-health-systems-reporting-losses-in-2022.html.