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Omnicure alleviates staffing shortages

According to a recent US News & Word Report article, an estimated 1.5 million healthcare jobs were lost in the first two months of COVID-19 as the country raced to curb the novel coronavirus by temporarily closing clinics and restricting non-emergency services at U.S. hospitals. This marked the start of the worst healthcare staffing crisis the United States has seen. While some returned to the workforce, others left permanently, creating a vacuum at a time of especially high demand. As time passed, many workers chose early retirement due to the high stress of the situation, and others chose to work shorter hours in outpatient settings, thus creating a lack of staffing, especially in ICU and inpatient settings. Along with this, prices for contracted labor, travel nurses, and locum tenens physicians have increased across the board, especially in areas with low accessibility. The need for healthcare professionals is at an all time high across the country as we continue to battle the pandemic as well as concerns about bed capacity. As per a recent NPR article, it isn’t just Covid beds that hospitals are struggling to find, but rather beds in general. Adding to this issue, a recent poll found that roughly 30% of healthcare workers either quit or were laid-off during the pandemic, which means many facilities simply don’t have enough clinicians to staff an adequate number of beds. Although this issue has been widely reported over the past two years, a solution has yet to be found at a nationwide level, leading to concern about the state of healthcare in America.

With fewer clinicians and nurses treating ever-increasing patient numbers, burnout is soaring, leading to an increased risk for medical errors, cost of hospital stays, and a rapid decline in healthcare competency. In fact, the New England Journal of Medicine reported that “the number of central line-associated bloodstream infections increased 28% in the second quarter of 2020 compared to the same period in 2019, while rates of falls rose by 17% and pressure injuries increased by nearly 42% at skilled nursing facilities during the same period.”

To hone in on the Midwest, where Omnicure is based, some of the nation’s worst staffing shortages have placed immense strain on the region’s numerous small, rural hospitals. According to an article from Becker’s Hospital Review, healthcare facilities across the Midwest, specifically in Missouri and Kansas, are highly concerned about their ability to staff enough beds for the inevitable winter surge in illnesses. Just in 2022, healthcare turnover has reached an all-time high of 24.7 percent, according to the Missouri Hospital Association. An exodus of nurses and physicians have left many hospitals even in the Kansas City metro area ill-equipped to meet a marginal increase in patient loads—a crisis beyond the boundaries of COVID.

It’s more important than ever to think about maximizing the resources available to our healthcare system in order to support overworked staff as well as address bed space issues for patients. The Omnicure solution is well positioned to address this problem, and is led by a clinical team that has firsthand experience dealing with the COVID crisis as well as increased physician and nurse shortage. Omnicure’s aim is to help alleviate the myriad issues brought about by these nationwide workforce shortages. With a comprehensive telemedicine software solution, Omnicure enables bedside nurses and physicians to quickly and easily reach out to remote specialists for support. The technology can be used for a wide variety of care—from acute-issue consultations to continuous remote patient monitoring—thus facilitating better care for larger numbers of patients while circumventing the issue of needing more nurses and physicians physically located in the hospital.

For the past two years, Omnicure has been partnered with the federal government in implementing a National Emergency Tele-Critical Care Network (NETCCN). Through this program, the Omnicure software has been deployed to dozens of hospitals all over the country, ranging from rural community hospitals to busy urban trauma centers. The software solution is lightweight and device-agnostic, which means it can be implemented quickly and—importantly—it allows the remote clinicians to provide care from almost anywhere. With Omnicure, hospitals and health systems can help their limited numbers of clinicians reach far more patients in a more efficient manner. Omnicure can also aid in staffing for hospitals and health systems that don’t have the clinicians to provide remote care.

As the winter season approaches, many healthcare facilities will undoubtedly face challenges of staffing and capacity. By helping them optimize their clinical resources, Omnicure provides the tools and confidence needed for these facilities to overcome the challenges and ensure their patients receive the care they deserve.

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