Around the world, the health sector is in a state of emergency. Front line and support staff are being asked to do more with less, shouldering unsustainable workloads which is leading to increased levels of stress.

As the world’s population grows, demands on health systems are ever increasing – but resources aren’t keeping pace. When combined with technology that’s not fit for purpose, it’s clear to see why the threat of burnout is ever-present.

The need to reduce the workload of care teams is more crucial than ever. The potential of making people’s healthcare interactions digital presents one way to free up capacity so these teams can spend more of their precious time focusing on treating patients who need their help most.

Workloads and burnout on the rise

Stress in the health sector is not a new phenomenon, but once-in-a-generation events like the COVID-19 pandemic have brought the issue clearly into the public spotlight.

As has been witnessed across many sectors, there are warning signs of a potential ‘great resignation’ in the health sector. In the US, a recent report found that 47% of physicians surveyed were feeling symptoms of burnout. Another report found that one in five physicians and two in five nurses intend to leave their practice altogether.

The issues of recruiting and retaining healthcare workers are being felt across the globe. In order to achieve the Quintuple Aim of improved patient experience, provider experience, health outcomes, reduced cost of healthcare and enhanced equity, there’s a clear need to find efficiencies.

Hospital admissions – an example: 

The increasing demands being placed on healthcare workers and support staff are apparent in many areas, such as admitting patients to hospital.

Currently, many teams who schedule admissions are tasked with collecting information from patients using paper-based systems. This information is generally provided in a range of different formats, and sometimes late or with illegible or missing information.

The result is booking teams having to spend time following up and deciphering information, before manually entering it into an online system.

There are ramifications for clinical staff if this information isn’t available: an anaesthetist, for example, needs critical information about a patient’s allergies and medical history in order to do their job safely and effectively. Without it, that patient may not receive the care they need.

Automating standard processes for hospital admissions can go some way to lessening the burden on healthcare workers, helping get the right information to the right people at the right time.

Orion Health and Southern Cross Healthcare – working together

Southern Cross Healthcare continuously invests in modern healthcare technology – including working with Orion Health to co-design a solution to streamline the pre-admission experience for patients. Utilising Orion Health’s Virtuoso Digital Front Door technology, this eAdmissions solution was piloted at Auckland Surgical Centre in 2022.

The pilot helped improve workflow efficiency for Southern Cross Healthcare staff. Through having access to more accurate, complete data, staff were able to reduce processing time per patient by 83%, and reducing the need to follow up with patients on incomplete data by 50%.

You can read more about Southern Cross Healthcare and Orion Health’s partnership and the Digital Front Door in the Southern Cross Healthcare eAdmissions pilot case study.