Page 28 - BusinessWest May 13, 2024
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  “Even though you have interoperability, the systems are not talking to each other. It’s
a mess, if you ask me, where you could have made a really big breakthrough in medical records.”
importance of caregivers’ concerns at a time when the industry in general is at “an inflection point” when it comes to how hospitals operate.
“We need to double down and maximize our efforts to support caregivers through systems that keep people well and transform the systems that keep people well and transform our services in ways that meet the evolving needs not only of the patients we serve, but the colleagues that are part of our mission and drive service.”
Holyoke Medical Center has taken big steps to address those concerns as well, Hatiras said, including with compensation, but the system has still struggled, emerging from the pandemic, with employee expectations when it comes to long hours, weekends, and on-call hours — and a desire for more of their work to be remote, which isn’t always possible.
That said, artificial intelligence could begin to have a broader role, not in replacing providers, but making their jobs a little easier.
“You can have a natural conversation with the patient about their condition; the doctor can tell you what your blood pressure
is, the patient can say what their symptoms are, and you can have AI listening in and creating an actual note for the chart instead of someone having to transcribe it or dictate it or type it,” Hatiras said, adding that AI can process copious amounts of information and ... not make a diagnosis, exactly, but augment the doctor’s own deci- sion making.
“It could be helpful as an overlay with all the patients that come and go — ‘hey, doctor, can you check this patient based on the data input? He may need attention; he may have sepsis; he may have an infection.’ It can be a tool to assist.”
Evolution Continues
Speaking of technology, Hatiras noted that one of the most mon- umental changes in healthcare in recent decades is the electronic medical record.
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he recalled. “But we’ve done an awful lot to be better employers — we’ve done a lot with workplace safety, flex schedules, employee wellness, and novel approaches to new pipelines with our education and training partners.”
With almost 1,500 openings currently, “we’re about halfway back to where we used to be,” he added. “There’s still some work to do, but we’re making good progress and heading in the right direction.”
Watkins agreed that COVID took a toll on the workforce at Cool- ey Dickinson.
“We’ve had shortages before, particularly in nursing, but in the technical fields as well — radiology technologists, pharmacy techs, laboratory techs — but during COVID, we lost hospital personnel because they got sick or their families got sick or burnout occurred and individuals decided to take time off.
“We also had trainees in the pipeline that, for a couple of years, did not have the ability to learn at the bedside,” she added. “And learning on the screen or in a sim lab is not the same as learning at the bedside. So these graduates are taking longer to complete their training, and taking longer to onboard and orient. That means more folks, particularly those that enjoy teaching and mentoring, are real- ly required in order to bring this new cohort along.”
That has ramped up partnerships with UMass Amherst, Bay Path University, Springfield Technical Community College, and oth- ers on targeted programs to get more talent into the pipeline, from certified nurse aides to lab techs and surgical techs.
“One of the silver linings is that it has really forced us to be cre- ative and collaborative,” Watkins said. “We even have high-school and college students as a part of our volunteer programs here at the hospital, so that young people can get exposed to what it means to be in a hospital, and what sorts of positions there are. Doctors and nurses are important, but there are other ways that you can work in the hospital and have a great experience.”
Roose said healthcare leaders have come to understand the
“I would say there are benefits and drawbacks. One benefit is that you
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