Key Takeaways

For the past several years, physicians across healthcare have had to keep up with record staffing shortages, a global pandemic, and waning budgets. But one group in particular has confronted outstanding challenges: nurses

And with the turnover rate for nurses (8.4%) outpacing that of other healthcare workers (2.47%) in 2022, strategizing how to retain them has never been more crucial. 

Naturally, leaders across the industry have started turning to technology innovations to help address workforce challenges. But what makes a digital healthcare platform particularly suited for supporting the frontlines?

With more healthtech solutions popping up and promising to save the day, it’s imperative to find the right solution that helps your healthcare workforce feel valued and effective.

What unique healthcare workforce challenges do nurses face?

Whether someone needs immediate treatment in the ER or walks in for a routine appointment, chances are they’ll encounter a nurse fairly early in their patient experience. But what isn’t always immediately apparent is that RNs take on demanding responsibilities throughout their careers to ensure patients get the care they need, when they need it.

1. High workloads

Simply put, nurses often tend to patients more than any other healthcare worker. For instance, intensive care patients spend 86% of their time with nurses, compared to 13% with physicians. This leads to more data input, follow-up, and patient interfacing.

2. Longer hours and shifts

If you’re reading this, you probably work anywhere from eight to 10 hours a day. But nurses far exceed the typical work schedule. One study found that out of 22,000 RNs in 577 different hospitals, 65-80% of them work 12-hour shifts. This statistic becomes more troublesome considering longer shifts are increasingly associated with higher burnout and diminished patient satisfaction.

3. Excessive burnout and stress

43.4% of nurses who considered leaving their jobs in 2018 identified burnout as a reason that would contribute to their decision. Add in confronting a historic pandemic, increasingly dangerous work conditions, less peer support, and slashed budgets, the stress nurses have endured over the past few years surpasses just about any profession.

How can digital health affect nurse retention?

As the industry faces growing patient demands with fewer team members, nurse retention should be top of mind for every healthcare leader. Although several factors could influence workforce turnover, certain digital health platform features could help —  or hurt — efforts to retain essential talent. 

1. Data input requirements

The wide adoption of EHRs over the past decade meant nurses no longer had to rely on manual processes to record and access patient information. But electronic records also demand nurses spend more time inputting data — and less time focusing on patients. And recent data suggests this in-hospital technology is contributing to burnout.

2. Lack of interoperability

Care doesn’t happen in silos. More often than not, multiple providers help treat patients at various touchpoints. That’s why interoperability — a technology’s ability to exchange and make use of information — is so essential when it comes to digital health platforms. If providers have to work around existing healthtech to coordinate care, that’s when operational friction occurs — contributing to more burnout, stress, and dissatisfaction.

3. Digital health integration

Another consistent cause of frustration for nurses is when organizations adopt healthtech detached from current infrastructure. One report states 35% of healthcare delivery organizations will adopt healthtech solutions apart from EHRs this year — which could add tedious steps to already-cumbersome operations. That’s why some platforms — like Memora Health — use single-sign-on (SSO) to seamlessly integrate with existing systems, improving data collection and clinical workflows without causing more friction for nurses.

What makes a digital health platform ideal for nurse retention?

It’s clear that supporting the healthcare workforce goes beyond simply committing to a digital-first strategy. Health systems must adopt the right technologies for their teams that simplify and streamline operations, instead of adding more to their plates.

Keeping in mind the many ways healthtech can impact turnover, leaders must consider some fundamental aspects of adopting digital health platforms to make the right decision. 

1. Custom digital healthcare implementation 

You might notice some digital health platforms offer similar functions. But that’s when the real difference is in implementation and an ongoing client support model. Does the company behind the product offer customization options for your care programs? Are those personalized options supported by real clinical experience? Is the innovator invested in partnering with your organization for the long-term by continuously supporting your success and improvement? Consider these questions when selecting a new healthtech option.

2. Intelligent triaging with healthcare AI

There are several benefits of automation in healthcare. For instance, medication reminders and routine follow-up could be reasonably set on auto-pilot. But what if a patient has more specific inquiries about their care journey, like medication refill requests? That’s where more advanced platforms excel — specifically, intelligent care enablement. This scalable technology that supports both patients and care teams through complex clinical episodes leverages AI and natural language processing (NLP) to interpret patient issues and follow custom clinical workflow logic to triage them appropriately, helping care teams keep a pulse on their patients more easily and ultimately intervene more quickly to promote better health outcomes. Engaging with Memora Health’s platform, patients can even text a picture of their post-op wound with questions about swelling at the incision site or concerns of infection for lightning-quick advice.

3. Elimination of routine care team tasks

Perhaps one of the most important aspects of choosing the right digital health platform for your healthcare workforce is selecting one that cuts down on busy work. Manual follow-up, check-ins, and appointment reminders all add burden to nurses already weighed down by thinned out staff levels and budget cuts. The average provider spends 25% of their day on administrative tasks. The right healthtech can give your care teams that time back into their schedules to destress and focus on treating patients who need clinical advice most urgently.

Digital health is transforming the way organizations manage care. Using the right healthtech tools, nurses can access critical patient information, communicate with other healthcare professionals, and manage their workloads more effectively — all with fewer administrative tasks on their shoulders. 

Learn more about digitizing and automating care delivery for your organization.