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It has become apparent that COVID-19 is not ready to relax its grip on this country, nor on the world in general. The Delta variant of that disease continues to strengthen as the weather gets colder, and that means it will remain a powerful adversary into 2022.

Unfortunately, this means hospitals will continue to have their resources stretched to the limit and must continue to push surgeries out to other facilities such as ambulatory surgery centers and physician-owned hospitals. It should be no surprise that this relatively sudden increase in volume has now shifted a great deal of emphasis to those centers and that they are being challenged to meet the huge influx of patients.

With that in mind, here’s what we believe will be the three biggest challenges these clinics will face in the coming year.

Staffing shortages

It will continue to be a huge challenge to find enough qualified physicians, nurses, and other staff for these facilities. There has been a universal scramble going on in the healthcare industry to recruit these qualified individuals. However, many organizations are vying to secure the needed personnel so they can provide quality care for incoming patients. Unfortunately, the number of qualified medical personnel coming out of the education system is simply inadequate to meet the demand.

Overworked staff

A natural consequence of being inadequately staffed is the fact that those who are on staff are obliged to work too many hours. This can lead to other undesirable results, especially when staff is overworked to the point where concentration suffers, and medical care begins to degrade. Already, a number of healthcare professionals in these clinics have been pushed to the point of burnout.

Operating room inefficiencies 

Another consequence of inadequate staffing is the increased inefficiency which plagues operating rooms. When there are not enough personnel to provide adequate OR assistance, it stands to reason that operating room procedures would suffer as a result. Nurses are also obliged to work longer shifts than they normally would, and they are subject to the same kind of stress and strain that physicians are. When new people are hired, the onboarding process can be tedious, and can still leave gaps in knowledge that may be costly during surgical procedures.

Overcoming these challenges

It will be difficult to find ways to secure enough qualified physicians, nurses, and other personnel to staff ASCs and physician-owned hospitals, but these facilities may have to resort to greater enticements to secure necessary personnel. When additional staff can be brought in, that will help to relieve the overworked status.

In the meantime, one of the best possible solutions for overcoming operating room inefficiencies right away is to use the DinamicOR Back Table Solution. This solution keeps all surgical instruments readily available on the back table, so they can be retrieved instantly by medical assistants. The DinamicOR+ Workflow Management App associated with the system can also be a central repository for all surgical procedures and instruments and can be used to efficiently onboard new hires.

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