By Jack Silverstein for Home Health Care News
While 2021 in home-based care will not be a retread of 2020, it will share some challenges, and high on the list of challenges is something that was problematic even before the pandemic: staffing. The greatest challenge for home care agencies in 2021 will be staffing matters — hiring and retaining enough nurses, therapists and caregivers to do the work that needs to be done.
This is a huge problem, as agencies experience literally millions of dollars in lost revenue due to lack of adequate staffing each year. The soaring demand for workers in the home is driven primarily by an aging population and seniors leaving nursing homes to be with family during COVID.
Alarmingly, the gap between home care job openings and available hires is getting wider. The home health industry faces multiple labor challenges, including worker safety concerns stemming from the pandemic and an aging workforce where 40% of RNs are over the age of 50. This is compounded by multiple career options such as high pay travel nursing assignments, growth of advanced practice careers, telehealth, and clinicians leaving the profession from burnout.
“The top reasons a health care worker leaves one job for another includes the relationship and support from their supervisor, pay-rate, and having access to the tools needed to efficiently do a quality job,” says Kay Cowling, a leader in health care workforce strategy, and CEO of Cowling Advisory Services. “Retention in 2021 and beyond is going to require attention to leadership development, improved processes, and technology to make the job easier.”
Speech recognition addresses both process improvement and technology. Clinicians experience a smoother work day, less time needed to chart and fewer errors that otherwise threaten to send them back to the chart after hours. The result is more quality time with a patient and more free time for the clinician. This increases the clinician’s ability to tell a patient’s story, often complex with comorbidities, and share it with the broader care team.
Just look at the numbers that reveal the deep benefits of speech recognition:
— Clinicians can typically speak a note three times faster than they can type it
— Spoken notes have shown to increase note detail by 40%
— Overall documentation time can be reduced by over 50%
Here, then, are three key reasons to utilize speech recognition to improve clinical staff satisfaction and reduce turnover.
Speech recognition is the technology clinicians want
Consumer speech recognition offerings are already simplifying our daily life – on our phones and in our homes. Clinicians want that same capability on the job. Yet current consumer speech recognition tools don’t meet the need for medical accuracy, HIPAA compliance and security. Tools such as nVoq Incorporated’s industry-leading nVoq.Mobile Voice solution are designed specifically for the unique needs of hospice and home health, providing a secure, highly accurate and medically informed alternative.
Speech recognition boosts productivity – and job satisfaction
As noted, speech recognition enables clinicians to focus on care, increase efficiency, deliver more in-depth notes and go home relieved that their duties are done. Productivity rises, satisfaction does too – and the work-life balance is vastly improved.
“The clinician who gets home at night and has to chart on the computer when they’d rather spend time with their family, brings unwanted stress home, and to the job,” Cowling says.
Cowling has seen it firsthand, as a former CEO of a home health agency, a board director for Care Synergy, Colorado’s largest end of life provider. Her daughter-in-law works as a hospice nurse, so she knows the stress and dissatisfaction clinicians can have around the documentation requirements.
Speech recognition increases job satisfaction and reduces turnover – and that’s good for everyone
Clinicians enter the profession to nurture and provide care, not to spend excess time on administrative documentation. Speech recognition helps them deliver that care by providing a complete picture of the patient’s status. This improved patient story, through speech, enhances the handoff between clinicians, therefore creating a better patient experience when the next provider sees the patient.
“Retention of staff is a result of employee engagement and satisfaction on the job,” Cowling says. “Agencies that provide access to technology such as speech recognition tools have a competitive advantage in this tight labor market. The number one avenue to recruit talent is through employee referrals. If a clinician is happy on the job, they will tell others who will want to join that organization.”
Speech recognition technology, such as nVoq.Mobile Voice, empowers clinicians to document high quality patient care notes with speed, accuracy and security. nVoq.Mobile Voice enables organizations to rapidly address key employee communication challenges, creating a positive ROI for the organization within weeks of implementation.
nVoq.Mobile Voice not only helps in clinical direct care and documentation — it improves the overall business process. That capability supports a positive company culture, essential to attract quality workers in a short supply environment.
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