The U.S. Labor Shortage and its Impact on Healthcare

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Among the numerous affected sectors, one of the most concerning is the healthcare industry. Healthcare Finance explains that employment in the healthcare industry As the world continues to step out of the malaise that has been the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s becoming clear it’s not the same world we knew before. One of the most salient reminders of these changes is the current US labor shortage. As CNN points out, “Now Hiring” is becoming an increasingly desperate plea that the labor market is refusing to answer.

The Wall Street Journal reports the U.S. labor market is missing around 4.3 million workers across multiple key industries. At the same time, workers are leaving their jobs at record rates. The result is businesses scrambling to reinvent services, invest in automation, and increasing wages to try to lure potential employees.

fell by 17,500 in September and 524,000 since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite cities, counties, and states across the country working hard to reopen safely, the situation for healthcare providers is, surprisingly, expected to get worse. Fierce Healthcare astutely points out that the medical workforce is burned out. The two-year battle against the pandemic has left everyone from medical professionals to the front-office staff that supports them drained.

Medical providers are struggling to navigate what has been labeled a national crisis of healthcare labor shortage. A medical office will not only struggle to find doctors and nurses but even qualified personnel to field incoming calls. The result adds to the stress people in the medical service industry are facing. The shortages result in doctors and nurses taking extra shifts, well-meaning but unqualified team members fielding incoming calls attempting to deliver receptionist service, and all of it ultimately affecting patient satisfaction.

So what’s a medical practice to do? Clearly, the core service is providing healthcare that benefits everyone. The focus needs to be on employing the best doctors and nurses they can find. This is mission-critical for any healthcare business. However, these services are for naught if patient calls go unanswered, or are improperly handled and patients can’t schedule medical appointments.

When it comes to patient care, the doctors and nurses the healthcare business employs are part of the unique identity and “secret sauce” of the establishment, the front office staff, though paramount, are less directly tied to the mission-critical operations.




In response to these shortages, the businesses that can support have increased wages or added benefits to make their offerings more attractive. Though this can be taxing on the bottom line, it’s a valid strategy, and likely one best left for your mission-critical employees, mainly, your doctors and nurses.

For front-office functions that are typically deemed less sensitive, U.S. companies are increasingly outsourcing to third parties to streamline workflows and reduce costs. Medical Answering Services allow you to flexibly address your staffing needs without the burden of sourcing, hiring, and training new team members.

Particularly during this labor shortage, solutions for urgent calls, overflow calls, being available on various communication channels, during office hours and after-hours is uniquely difficult. Every healthcare practice benefits from an experienced team handling their phone calls, providing coverage around the clock while delivering impeccable customer service for its patients. A good medical answering services partner can assist with more than just appointment scheduling services. They are HIPAA compliant, can integrate with your customer management system, and operate seamlessly so that your patients never even know they were speaking with a third party.

A Medical Answering Services Partner Can Help You:

  • Provide 24/7 call center support
  • Handle all incoming calls in real-time or asynchronously
  • Assist with follow up questions via email, text message, or social media
  • Answer general inquiries regarding billing, insurance claims, appointments, etc.
  • Answering calls From patients and family members

We’re all learning and adapting to the new realities of the labor market and the world as we continue to manage the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Though initially, outsourcing may seem like a major decision, it’s one that businesses in all sectors are making more frequently. Especially as the shortage of doctors and nurses drives their compensation up, the attractive pricing of employing a medical answering service means that you can reinvest your savings into your doctors and nurses without sacrificing patient satisfaction.

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