The scale of the COVID-19 pandemic is the biggest challenge the world has faced in living memory. It’s impacting everyone, everywhere and is a crisis putting severe pressure on healthcare systems across the globe.
With a soaring number of infections, the need for increased testing for the virus, and an unprecedented strain being heaped upon healthcare infrastructure, it’s vital healthcare organizations are in a position to deliver the maximum quality of care to the maximum number of people as the world unites to stem the spread of the virus.
Healthcare around the world is being stretched to breaking point and, as a result, the demand for temporary healthcare workers is soaring. The UK and the US are fast-tracking medical students and bringing healthcare workers out of retirement while in the US staffing firms have reported surges in demand for temporary healthcare staff over the past week. Here’s a few examples;
Aya showed a 17% increase in jobs available from March 9 to Monday, March 16, from 11,500 open positions to 13,400.
Fastaff listed a 66% increase in jobs from the prior week and the highest level tracked over the last 12 months.
Demand for nurses is especially strong, and staffing shortages coupled with wide scale outbreaks could push some health systems to the brink. Frontline healthcare workers who come in contact with infected patients and become ill or quarantined could be sidelined for weeks meaning more nurses and physicians are desperately needed.
It’s not just hospitals who are facing the surge in demand. Care homes, homes for the elderly, pharmacies, even childcare, are all in similar positions. Their challenges included isolation, difficult communication, and staff shortages.
Alongside all this, healthcare managers are struggling to onboard new recruits quickly and effectively. Added to this is the need to create compliant schedules that meet the growing demand for care while ensuring basic operations like the running of payroll and the tracking of worked shifts are easy and error free.
As well as the service provision to their end users - whether that’s life saving treatment, ongoing palliative care, or anything in between - healthcare organizations need to ensure they are looking after and supporting their own staff. After all, it’s those on the frontline who are working around the clock to fight this battle.
Supporting healthcare staff
The challenge is on a scale no one has seen before. Yet, we believe technology is a force for good and - when used intelligently - can be a highly effective tool in helping us deal with the impact of the virus and provide invaluable support to employees.
More efficient management of the healthcare workforce - including better communication tools, fast onboarding, and optimal scheduling - can help reduce stress and pressure on frontline staff. This means that more lives can potentially be saved.
Staying true to our purpose to create a better work life for millions of people - even in this time of crisis - we want to help healthcare organizations ensure they have the right tools to look after their staff in the best possible way, so they in turn can deliver the best care possible.
If you run a healthcare organization and are dealing with the impact of Covid-19, here are some of the ways you can support your staff:
With a rapidly evolving and escalating situation, quick, easy, and effective communication is more important than ever. That’s why we’re providing open access to our communication module and mobile app for any organization out there needing to facilitate easy communication across every level of the organization.
Qmail - our messaging system - has seen a 78% increase in the use in one week due to the current situation. It's a more efficient tool than both email and intranets as it uses an app and does not require a company email account, allowing employers and managers to send important notices through the mobile app by direct or mass messages to all employees.
2. Monitor stress levels
The crisis we’re facing is on a scale very few people alive have experienced before. Stress levels among healthcare workers are, understandably, especially high. The free communications module also comes with Pulse, a fast and effective method to gauge how employees are feeling – secure, concerned, worried, unwell? Employees can answer survey questions that appear as a push notification on the mobile app meaning you can see in an instant how they are feeling and as a result make better decisions based on this data.
Regular recognition is also incredibly important to help reduce stress. Now, more than ever, is the time for you to thank and recognize your employees. Badge - another feature included with our free communications tool - is an effective way to recognize employee achievements and engage your staff with rewarding recognition through the mobile app during a time of uncertainty.
3. Streamlined onboarding
With huge recruitment drives for healthcare workers happening across the globe, fast and efficient onboarding will save time and help save lives. Any new employees you recruit don’t want to become swamped in a sea of paperwork before they begin their jobs. Furthermore, the communication module above gives you a people directory for fast access to your organizations' contact information, which can assist in rapidly sharing information when you need to.
4. Compliance & Payroll
Healthcare staff will be working long hours and are already under huge stress and pressure. You can help to reduce that stress by making sure they are paid correctly and they are not breaching working time directives - having systems in place to ensure this happens and significantly mitigate the risk of error will be of huge benefit to your staff.
5. Meeting demand
With demand for healthcare soaring and more bodies needed on the frontline, healthcare organizations around the world are going to need to be flexible and agile in order to fill the required shifts. Make it easy for your staff to claim extra shifts, fill additional shifts you need covering and switch shifts. It will benefit you and them, resulting in a better service provision.
If you think it can help your organization, our team of experts can get you set up with our free communication app in less than a day. To find out more and get free access, please click the button below.