Nurses play a crucial role in healthcare, from monitoring and advocating for patients to helping to develop and acting on care plans.
Without nurses, hospitals and health systems simply could not function as they currently do. In fact, hospital CEOs ranked workforce shortages as their top concern in 2021, according to a survey – the first time since 2004 that financial challenges were not their top concern.
The current nursing shortage is part of a longer-term issue with a lack of available and qualified nurses. Let’s look at this concern in a little more detail. Then, we’ll review how AI can help providers continue to deliver high-quality care even in the face of this nursing shortage in acute and critical care settings.
Understanding the Widespread Nursing Shortage
There isn’t a single factor driving the shortage of qualified staff in the nursing field across the United States. Instead, a number of interconnected issues continue to influence participation in the nursing profession and the overall demand for nurses.
Southern New Hampshire University explains that nurses retiring and otherwise choosing to leave this work environment for another career have an impact. So does an aging population, which requires a larger nursing workforce.
Additionally, a bottleneck in nursing education limits the number of new nurses who join the profession each year. And job dissatisfaction also plays a role in short staffing and similar issues, as nurses leave the profession at an alarming rate. A recent study predicts a shortage of 13 million nurses by 2030.
A variety of essays on the nursing shortage highlight these issues and many others. Difficult work environments, barriers to providing effective patient care, and many other concerns make the nursing shortage an especially difficult problem to resolve.
Peer-reviewed journal articles on the nursing shortage point to major issues with a lack of available nurses. “RN Shortages Negatively Impact Patient Safety,” published in the American Journal of Nursing, highlights a clear and serious downside. Reduced RN staffing increases the risk of death during a hospital stay.
Solving Nursing Shortages: A Common Priority Made Easier With AI
Addressing the nursing shortage is a clear need for all hospitals and health systems. The severity of the problem and the specific outcomes it causes can vary from one provider to the next. However, the underlying issue remains the same.
A recent Becker’s panel with healthcare leaders determined that technology will be key to overcome nursing staffing challenges – by adopting more flexible and frictionless workflows and automating processes. We agree and offer that AI-driven technologies, in particular, can play a crucial role in addressing the nursing shortage. How?
AI can take on the burden of important but time-consuming administrative work that takes time away from direct interactions with patients. AI can also parse key information from an EMR consistently and effectively, then provide it to a healthcare professional. By highlighting the most relevant and important information, providers save time and gain valuable context.
By incorporating predictive analytics and AI into utilization management workflows, your organization can turn patient data into real-time actionable insights. That leads to advantages like prioritization of the most serious and time-sensitive patient cases, improving case review volume, reducing overall observation rate, and much more.
It is possible to do more with less when your nursing staff has the right technological tools. about the operational transformation AI can empower within your hospital or health system.
Patty Dietz BSN, RN, CPHQ, ACM-RN, is Senior Clinical Consultant at Xsolis and has over 20 years’ experience in healthcare technology consulting, organizational performance improvement, and case management.