Critical Care: Healthcare Staffing Shortages Impede Project Completion

May 2, 2023
2 Minute Read

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on the healthcare ecosystem across the country and around the world. The fallout has created disruptions in the supply chain, lowered reimbursements for Medicare and Medicaid, generated revenue cycle challenges, and produced burgeoning staff caseloads. But the biggest impact is acute staffing shortages that have left a significant number of healthcare service providers failing to complete their mission-critical projects.

In fact, one in four healthcare executives reports that less than half of their organization’s projects have met key goals since 2020, according to our latest research. Nearly 30% of healthcare services providers who responded to the survey acknowledged that their projects have become more challenging in that time span.

“Healthcare service providers have taken on more mission-critical projects to keep up with growing staffing shortages, increased competition, a fast pace of change, and ongoing global disruptions,” said Joni Noel, Senior Vice President, Healthcare and Private Equity at RGP. “Yet the very staffing conditions that have forced healthcare providers to undertake these new projects have also made it more challenging to execute them.”

As a result of these staffing challenges, healthcare organizations are using more consulting and staffing professionals. The percentage of outside talent making up critical project teams reached 42% in 2023 and is expected to increase to 48% by 2024.

While 99% of North American healthcare executives said it is important to bring strong talent from outside the organization into key project roles, this hybrid model of managing organizationally diverse teams was also cited as the top challenge.

“With our current economy driven by the talent crunch, healthcare organizations – like many other industries – are struggling with staffing shortages and are forced to operate with smaller staffs while furiously digitizing their business processes,” said Sachin Dev, RGP Vice President, Healthcare. “While these transformation and modernization initiatives are vital to providing the best patient experience, generating cost savings and maintaining constant revenue cashflow, the providers’ ability to find the right talent and execute these projects on-time and on-budget seems to be diminishing.”

To address these project execution skill gaps, organizations plan to make the greatest improvements in leadership skills in the areas of change management, advanced project management tool knowledge, and project assessment and strategic evaluation.

Nearly 90% of respondents said that effective project leaders – employees or outside talent – were extremely or very important to project success.

“Organizations must prioritize and be selective in choosing the critical projects they pursue along with the right mix of inside and outside talent to execute their mission-critical projects,” Sachin said. “Investing in these fusion teams and digital capabilities is a must for healthcare organizations to enable more cost-effective solutions and innovative alternatives for long-term success.”

These research findings are based on our fall 2022 survey of more than 400 large companies with $1 billion or more in revenue, including 101 healthcare executives throughout North America, Europe, and Asia-Pacific.

Read the full report: The Systemic Impact of Healthcare Staffing Shortages on Mission-Critical Projects

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