Survey of healthcare financial leaders reports on workforce challenges

Feb. 23, 2022

AKASA, a developer of AI for healthcare operations, released findings from a new survey where healthcare finance leaders ranked the biggest challenges in recruiting and retention within the revenue cycle as healthcare organizations navigate significant staffing gaps across the board.

The report from the survey data, "No Resignation: Solving Today's Greatest Staffing Challenges in the Healthcare Revenue Cycle", was designed to assess the adoption of automation in revenue cycle operations at hospitals and health systems across the U.S.

The survey of more than 400 healthcare financial leaders ranked the following as the biggest challenge impacting operations:

  • #1: Competitive market for talent (71%)
  • #2: Vaccine mandates (42%)
  • #3: Employee burnout (41%)
  • #4: Rapid employee turnover (40%)
  • #5: Limitations to offer remote work (23%)

"The back office of healthcare is essential to keeping the doors of hospitals open by making sure the bills are paid," said Malinka Walaliyadde, co-founder and CEO of AKASA. "Yet, these teams are facing labor shortages like never before. COVID-19 has stretched hospitals and healthcare systems beyond the breaking point. And for all the new problems the pandemic has introduced, it has also shone a light on decades-old issues, where healthcare operations teams have historically been understaffed. To tackle these challenges, leaders should continue to evolve strategies that boost morale and recruitment efforts and examine opportunities to leverage AI to alleviate the burden on their teams." 

Staff churn and the onslaught of COVID have both resulted in healthcare professionals working overtime and extra shifts. Beyond burnout, this is putting added financial strain on healthcare systems, as overtime pay is often higher than standard pay and further taxes the already-depleted resources of many revenue cycle departments. Added financial strain makes it more difficult to hire the additional people who are needed, which furthers the workload of the current team - creating a vicious cycle.

With the recent Supreme Court decision upholding the healthcare worker vaccine mandate, some healthcare leaders may find it more difficult to find new talent or retain current staff who have been resistant to complying with the requirements - especially in states which have been lax on enforcing COVID-19 restrictions.

As remote work increases and becomes the norm, hospitals and healthcare organizations are now competing with other providers across the country for the same talent. If a revenue cycle specialist is working at a local provider and making $14 an hour — but can remotely work for a larger healthcare provider in another state for $16 an hour — they have little reason to stay put. This also puts smaller systems and more rural ones (who often have lower pay scales) at an extreme disadvantage. Individuals are also leaving jobs for lateral moves, with the same pay, if it means they can work remotely.

AKASA release