With the progress of the digital age, countless aspects of everyday life have grown faster and more complex at a dizzying rate. The modern workplace is no exception, and no industry knows that better than healthcare professionals. The unique combination of challenges faced by caregivers and the managers who schedule them is constantly evolving, presenting new staffing complexities unheard of in prior generations.

However, as industry leaders scramble to address these fundamental changes in people management, the demand for caregiver services continues to grow. A quick scan of healthcare  staffing issues making news indicates individual facilities, departments, and providers on the front lines are often ill-equipped to navigate the advanced scheduling predicaments they face – impairing patient care. Here are 5 of the major factors affecting present-day provider staffing:

1) Quality Over Quantity
Now, more than ever, the mandate for better, smarter care is key to a healthcare facility’s financial wellbeing. A variety of policy revisions intended to shift emphasis away from volume and onto value are taking effect. The result is Medicare reimbursements that are increasingly tied to quality of care indicators.

2) Demand is Growing
The elderly population is growing at an unprecedented rate. By 2030, the US alone will be home to more than 69 million people over the age of 65. A 75% increase in only 20 years. By 2050, the that number will swell to more than 88.5 million. And longer lives, mean more need for medical care. In fact, studies indicate over 60% of older adults have multiple chronic illnesses.

3) Supply is Inadequate
Increased mandates for staff-to-patient ratios coupled with a declining supply of qualified candidates across a variety of specialties means quality staff are becoming increasingly difficult to find. And the problem is only going to get worse. For example, the shortfall of RNs will top a quarter million in the US by 2025.

4) Burnout is Real
With news of conflicts over healthcare under-staffing becoming more and more common, provider burnout is a very valid concern. Research has linked the hazards of work-life imbalance to acute health risks, and the additional stress of patient care can enhance that threat.

5) Turnover is Rising
Real-world examples of the difficult reality of healthcare staff retention and recruiting are abundant. The burden of poor staff-to-patient ratios is just one factor linked to the problem. The aging caregiver talent pool is another, as there is a shortage of younger candidates available to replace the swell of providers primed to reach retirement age in the next 10-15 years.

Address the Big Picture
Of course, there are far too many moving parts at play to cover in a single blog post. For more in-depth insights into the scheduling and people management pressures impacting quality of healthcare today – as well as peer-tested provider solutions – check out Shiftboard for Healthcare.