How to Improve Medical Staff Retention

Medical staff worldwide have worked especially hard since the beginning of the pandemic, enduring brutal hours and unflinching urgency. Unfortunately, the healthcare industry has the second-highest rate of employee turnover behind hospitality.

Your medical staff is invaluable

From huge hospitals to small practices, healthcare facilities of all sizes depend on their staff for all the moving parts that healthcare providers can rarely handle alone.

Treating a patient takes more than just sitting them in a room and running some tests. This is because somebody needs to collect identifying information, process the exchange of protected health information (PHI), submit claims to insurance companies, and much more.

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) set loose guidelines for training staff. This requires training “as necessary and appropriate.” While this rule doesn’t indicate how long training should last or how frequent it should be, it applies to any individual who may access or view PHI.  

To meet these requirements, most practices train their staff for 1-2 hours annually. For new staff, however, the training will continue long after any online course. Additionally, failure to train adequately puts healthcare facilities at risk of facing the steep financial and criminal penalties of HIPAA. At the worst tier, this can cost $1.5 million per violation category per year.

For individuals entering the healthcare workforce for the first time, the fundamentals may take time to retain. In this adjustment period, training managers will need to monitor the work being done and correct any mistakes.

Including onboarding, training, and other administrative costs, replacing healthcare employees can easily cost over $10,000. Additionally, the needs of the facility do not decrease when there’s an open position, other staff must step in.

Keeping staff on board as long as possible is crucial for lasting success. By considering the key causes of medical staff turnaround, you can find ways to motivate them to stay longer.

Why do medical staff quit?

The healthcare industry can be one of the highest-stress working environments one could choose to enter. A poll by Morning Consult received responses from 1,000 medical staff. It found that 18% quit their healthcare job,12% were laid off, 31% of those who stayed had considered leaving, and 78% of healthcare providers have been affected by the labor shortage.

Staff turnaround rates were already high for healthcare workers before the pandemic. Now, thanks to the added stress, risk, and medical misinformation rampant amidst the pandemic, these rates are even higher. 

Stress and burnout are the most common reasons for workers who choose to leave the healthcare industry. The long shifts, high stakes, and sad results take a heavy toll. 

This is especially true in practices that do not make special efforts to make their staff feel valued. Negative reinforcement, denying PTO, and unapproachable management all contribute to staff disgruntlement.

Some of these issues have been strongly bolstered by COVID-19, which introduced unprecedented levels of risk for medical staff. In addition to risking their own health and wellbeing, they worry for everybody they interact with. Furthermore, there’s a large number of healthcare workers who lost their jobs because they did not vaccinate against the virus. 

We all depend on medical workers, but nobody does more than their healthcare facilities.

How can you incentivize your staff to stay?

It’s easier to find and keep good healthcare workers by offering more money. Between the start and end of 2020, the average salary for nurses had increased by about $10,000 with larger sign-on bonuses. Generally speaking, people are willing to put up with stressful situations longer when it feels worthwhile. 

If your healthcare practice isn’t in a position to offer raises and bonuses across the board, there’s still hope. By improving working conditions, you can improve patient care and staff retention.

In the aforementioned Morning Consult poll, 28% of responders said a lack of respect and appreciation led to their decision to quit. People are more productive and stay longer when management notice and praise their hard work. 

Saying thank you more often, offering small gifts, and highlighting inspiring members of the team all contribute to developing more passionate workers. This will also impact both local word-of-mouth and online employer review websites like Glassdoor. Your reputation will be a determining factor for most applicants who may fit the open roles.

When hiring, it is important to ensure that the applicants will be a good fit for the position. According to MGMA, one of the leading causes of healthcare worker turnover is poor applicant evaluation

Of those polled, 32% of healthcare workers who quit said boredom and lack of engagement impacted their decision. Providing training and personal development opportunities keeps your staff engaged and helps develop their key skills. Fostering an enriching environment and promoting from within makes staff more hopeful for the future.

Reducing stress as much as possible is also crucial to maintaining quality staff. Employee burnout is a real threat that impacts both physical health and productivity. Fortunately, technology can reduce stress by making challenging tasks in healthcare faster and easier. 

ChartRequest reduces stress and the risk of burnout

The exchange of protected health information is a complicated process with several points of potential HIPAA violation throughout. Faxing, mailing, and emailing medical records are all risky methods of release with the potential for a breach. One wrong number and the records can end up with the wrong person. 

Covered entities must report every single incident where an unauthorized individual may have viewed medical records to the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) per the Breach Notification Rule. Once they receive the report, if HHS determines that a breach was caused by gross negligence, the penalties can cost up to $50,000 per incident.

HIPAA requires covered entities to release medical records within 30 days of receiving a request. To make sure healthcare practices don’t lose their request, most requestors will make regular calls for status updates. These calls drastically increase the time your staff spends on each request.

We designed the ChartRequest software to simplify the HIPAA-compliant exchange of medical information. Our streamlined workflows, transparency throughout the request fulfillment process, and referral management capabilities help healthcare practices of all sizes save time and money.

There are two subscription tiers for our release of information solution: self-service and full-service. 

Self-service allows your staff to access our software to handle the release of information. Once signed up, your staff can easily track request deadlines, answer questions digitally with our provider chat, reduce request turnaround time, and much more. 

Our full-service plan allows you to outsource the entire process to our HIPAA experts. This lets you reallocate valuable administrative hours and reduces the likelihood and burden of staff turnover. 

To learn more about how ChartRequest can help your healthcare facility, click here to schedule a demo today.