HR professionals in the healthcare industry frequently face all kinds of unique challenges. Their roles are crucial, from hiring and training qualified medical personnel to ensuring patient satisfaction—and don’t forget about keeping up with legal and regulatory requirements.
The list of compliance standards is extensive and constantly changing. To help guide you, we’re going to take a quick glance at a few challenges of HR department management.
Challenges of Healthcare HR Management
The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts around 2.4 million new jobs will be added to the healthcare industry by 2026. This may seem like good news for healthcare professionals but it’s presenting a serious problem for HR departments. There simply aren’t enough qualified people to fill the current openings, let alone the new ones that seem to be continuously popping up.
Between the growing population of older adults, breakthroughs in new medicines, and technological advancements, the shortage of healthcare workers is expected to almost double.
Meeting Regulatory Compliance Standards
Pretty much everyone is familiar with HIPAA, it’s the standard that protects a patient’s health information. However, it’s not the only regulatory compliance regulation HR departments in the healthcare industry need to meet.
Along with federal compliance standards, some states, like California, also have individual consumer protection policies. Don’t forget about the various health and safety regulations that include but aren’t limited to OSHA.
Not only do HR departments need to keep up with these changing standards. Yes, most compliance regulations are updated every two years or so, but HR management also must ensure the healthcare facility is meeting each regulation. This alone can take weeks, if not months, to track, and then there are forms to fill out and send back to the regulatory agencies.
As a result of this, HR departments often find themselves creating a whole new section just to deal with these issues.
Patient and Employee Satisfaction
HR is the acronym for Human Resources and this is the department that handles everyone’s dissatisfaction, from patients to healthcare staff. On a bad day, the HR department can be inundated with complaints.
We’ve already discussed the predicted employee shortage in the healthcare industry, and dissatisfaction among staff can only make it worse. Among healthcare professionals, nurses have the highest dissatisfaction rate and the reasons vary from being overworked to a lack of respect.
Recruiting new staff is expensive and it’s not uncommon for healthcare facilities to have limited operating budgets. Keeping current staff satisfied is crucial for most HR departments.
Patient satisfaction is also paramount here because when patients are dissatisfied with their treatment or medical personnel, they’re less likely to return for a follow-up visit—this eats into the facility’s bottom line.
When patients' poor reviews start piling up, it can trigger a visit from a governing agency and this can lead to fines and other potential penalties. All in all, HR management needs to work to ensure patients always receive the best care possible.
Tips for Meeting HR Department Challenges
HR departments can take advantage of a few resources to help them more easily meet these and other challenges. Investing in a document management system is a good start. While this system doesn’t handle patient data, the security isn’t robust enough to meet industry compliance standards, it is an effective way of managing employee files.
From onboarding new staff to tracking current healthcare professionals, the software can streamline everything into one manageable system. This can free up HR staff’s time to focus on other pressing challenges.
To avoid issues with regulatory compliance, boosting security around patient data is a must. This is also an easy way to prevent compliance issues from coming up. The system can encrypt patient data, which is often a regulatory requirement. The built-in compliance tools can also send alerts if a security breach is detected. This can give the facility’s IT department time to mitigate the potential problem before it becomes a serious issue.
Something all HR departments should consider implementing are tools to boost employee engagement. Since you probably don’t want a line of dissatisfied nurses and doctors snaking out the doors of the HR department, online tools can be an ideal solution.
Employees can leave feedback and discuss their concerns, allowing HR departments to make changes that improve the workplace culture. This in turn can help boost employee retention, addressing another challenge HR departments commonly face.
Meeting the Challenges HR Departments Common Face
While adopting software solutions and implementing changes won't completely resolve the myriad challenges faced by HR departments in the healthcare industry, these steps mark a significant beginning. The complexity and scope of issues in healthcare HR, ranging from staffing shortages to compliance with ever-evolving regulations, require multifaceted approaches.
The introduction of advanced software can streamline many processes, enhance data management, and improve communication efficiency. Over time, as HR departments adapt and evolve with these technological tools, they can develop more effective strategies for managing these challenges.