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How Healthcare Providers Are Adapting to Growing Patient Numbers
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How Healthcare Providers Are Adapting to Growing Patient Numbers

<strong>How Healthcare Providers Are Adapting to Growing Patient Numbers</strong>

In 2023, reports revealed that the year-on-year cost of patient care increased by 6% in the US. Why? Well, to list them all would be too much for one article. But somewhere in the endless list of reasons is growing patient numbers.

It’s not just spending growing numbers that it’s affecting – everything from appointments to bed space is taking a hit.

How are healthcare providers adapting to growing patient numbers? Click here to find out.

Upgrading Facilities

The swelling patient volumes does have its benefits – finally, healthcare facilities are improving.

For example, Mayo Clinic is undertaking a years-long expansion project entailing the construction of new patient rooms, enlarging ED facilities, and upgrading its operating suites. This enlargement should improve quality services while accommodating more customers than before.

Similarly, medical facilities have invested heavily in state-of-the-art equipment – like AI-guided diagnostic tools and electronic health record systems – which will streamline workflow, leading to faster patient throughput within hospitals or clinics, respectively.

Is this enough to manage growing patient numbers? No. But it was definitely a start.

Responding to Staffing Numbers

The big headline will always be staffing levels.

How is the healthcare system coping? An increased reliance on external agencies like a physician recruiter to manage their staffing constraints. For example, major hospital networks have engaged staffing companies to have a pool of qualified health professionals who can come in handy during peak times. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) also reports that hospitals are intensifying their recruitment processes by giving out signing bonuses and competitive benefits packages aimed at attracting nurses.

And, many colleges provide staff development programs and continuing education opportunities for their employees to cope with the increased workload. Some hospitals have also adopted flexible work schedules and support systems that enhance retention rates amongst their workforce, like shift flexibility, mental health support, and wellness programs. But there’s still more to be done to support staff and reduce high staff turnover levels.

Improving Patient Care

To accommodate increasing patient numbers, healthcare providers aim to streamline their care delivery processes as more patients need more complex care.

For example, Kaiser Permanente has implemented an integrative care model combining physical visits with virtual ones. The model increases the accessibility of healthcare services and helps expedite the provision of care, reducing queues and preventing overcrowding in hospitals.

Hospitals are adopting patient-centered care models that emphasize individualized care plans and patient engagement – something that’s becoming essential as complex conditions increase. To this end, there is a renewed focus on training healthcare providers in communication skills and empathy to raise the bar for the quality of care while ensuring that patients are put at ease by their interactions.

Healthcare has to adapt to growing patient numbers – and there’s no stopping the trajectory of patient numbers. Year-on-year, they increase. In 2022, there were over33.7 million hospital admissions. We guarantee that the number will increase. So, if there’s no solution to the growing numbers, there must be a solution to managing them.

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