Barrett Coakley | 03.13.19

The supply of qualified healthcare workers and the growing demand from an ageing population is having a big impact on the healthcare market, especially in homecare.  For example, in 2016, 8.5% of people worldwide (617 million) are aged 65 and over. According to a new report, this percentage is projected to jump to nearly 17 percent of the world’s population by 2050 (1.6 billion). This generation is demanding that they receive care where they want it, and that is increasingly in the home.

This need to deliver care in the home has created a growing demand for mobile healthcare workers. However, many healthcare providers are having a hard time hiring staff to keep up with the demand. Consider:

  • It now takes a record 49 days to fill a healthcare position, according to DHI Group, an employment consulting firm. That's two weeks longer than it now takes to fill a position in the highly competitive IT sector.
  • Since 2012, roughly 60,000 RNs exited the workforceeach year, and by the end of the decade more than 70,000 RNs will be retiring annually. In 2020, baby-boomer RNs will number 660,000, roughly half their 2008 peak.
  • A survey done in Wisconsin found that 85 percent of agencies didn’t have enough staff to cover all shifts, and 43 percent reported not filling shifts at least seven times a month.

Given the need to meet this growing demand coupled with the difficulty in finding and retaining quality aides, nurses and other workers it is important that homecare and member care organizations find ways to attract and keep talent. One way to appeal to workers is to provide a more consistent and reliable schedule, enabling your employees to better plan their lives. To accomplish this, you need to rely on schedule optimization technology.

Work/Life Balance

Employees highly value a work/life balance. Some achieve this balance through contract work but others also expect organizations to offer flexibility in their work lives. However, many healthcare providers still use older technology as well as manual processes to schedule employees. This leads to short term schedule planning that does not provide any long term consistency for employees. With schedule optimization, organizations can provide employees with a long-term view into their schedules, enabling them to better manage their outside lives. In fact, 17.7% of caregivers state that their agency selection was based upon the working schedule meeting their lifestyle. Long term planning also helps healthcare organizations map demand to resources to help mitigate overtime costs as you have a real view into availability and future demand.

More Efficient Operations

Another good way to recruit and retain employees is to eliminate unnecessary inefficiencies in their daily work life. One area that can be optimized is time spent on the road going to patient appointments. Poorly planned routing increases frustration, leads to lower engagement and even increases stress.  Schedule optimization technology will make your employees more efficient with real-time traffic updates and better route planning. For example, one of our customers was able to decrease the miles driven by their mobile workforce by 1 million miles over the course of a year. Not only does this help employees, it is also has an impact on the environment and your financials due to less fuel consumption.

New Expectations

Next generation workers, who have the potential to fill current employment gaps, have different needs than past generations. For example, millennials have little tolerance for outdated technology that impedes them from performing the work they truly care about doing. For example, a survey of 1,000 millennials conducted by Microsoft showed that 93 percent cited modern and up-to-date technology as one of the most important aspects of a workplace. Schedule optimization technology utilizes AI and machine learning, cutting edge technologies that make operations more efficient and daily work easier. These technologies are attractive to new employees as they see your organization as a modern employer who is investing in technology that positively impacts their lives. 

Scale Your Organization

Schedule optimization enables a scale and efficiency of work that would be impossible with mostly manual processes. Schedule optimization technology is a proven and reliable way to help your organization grow by understanding demand and scheduling resources appropriately.  Schedule optimization can help attract employees as well as engage current ones so they stay on and are better equipped to provide the care that is required.