Healthcare workforce issues that worsened throughout the pandemic will continue to affect the health system long after the Public Health Emergency ends. Staffing shortages, burnout, gaps in technology, and administrative burdens are contributing to our workforce crisis. The tech sector is offering solutions — including automation of administrative tasks and artificial intelligence–supported tools — to help alleviate workflow burdens.
Amazon Web Services (AWS), for example, launched a healthcare accelerator program in 2022 for start-ups focused on health professional workforce challenges. In March 2023, companies like Moonhub, a virtual reality training program, and Dropstat, an AI-backed staffing tool, were two of the 23 companies selected by AWS to receive technical and advisory support for their retention, deployment, and training solutions.
According to the World Health Organization, the healthcare workforce shortage and burnout crisis will create a shortfall of 10 million health workers by 2030. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, the U.S. will have a shortage of up to 124,000 physicians by 2034.
- More flexibility: Virtual tools and remote monitoring devices reduce the need for in-person pre- and postoperative consultations and allow for more flexible staffing opportunities.
- Time-saving technology: Many tech tools automate tasks and streamline workflow. Some platforms show real-time room occupancy and equipment use across departments, so patient-facing staff can address bottlenecks.
- Re-focusing attention: Some tools are addressing “alarm fatigue” by providing AI-enabled decision support tools that help identify early signs of patient deterioration.
- Faster coverage approvals: AI-supported automation of health plan prior authorization processes retrieves the necessary medical documentation directly from the EHR to auto-populate the request for clinical information, making approvals of treatment plans much faster and avoiding the manual retrieval of clinical notes or having to escalate a denial to physicians.
Technology solutions are not intended to replace orthopaedic practice staff but reduce the burden on professional and administrative staff. Leaders of orthopaedic practices should consider embracing technology as a way to support their teams, but it will require purposeful cultural changes and resources to take advantage of the streamlined, innovative approaches to care and administrative tasks.
Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. Priorities to Accelerate Workflow Automation in Health Care. Accessed April 10, 2023.
HealthTech Magazine. ViVE 2023: How to Create Digital Transformation and Innovation in Healthcare. Accessed April 9, 2023.