The COVID-19 pandemic has created a “new normal” for healthcare professionals. It has shifted priorities across the healthcare sector. In addition, the pandemic has reshaped the sector’s future.

Recovery from the pandemic is underway. At this time, healthcare professionals should expect big changes in the industry in the months and years to come. Now, let’s look at three changes that will impact the healthcare sector — and how to prepare for them.

1. Healthcare Organizations Will Continue to Face Staffing Shortages (and Look for New Ways to Address Them).

The pandemic has led many healthcare professionals to reconsider their careers. These professionals are exiting the field and pursuing career opportunities elsewhere. Meanwhile, the “Great Resignation” is underway. During this time, healthcare professionals are quitting their jobs more often than they did prior to the pandemic.

According to Montclair State University, the healthcare industry is and will continue to experience shortages in nursing, physicians, educators, and administrators. This means that essentially the entire pipeline for filling roles in healthcare is experiencing issues.

In fact, “Last school year, nursing schools throughout the country turned away more than 80,000 qualified applicants from both baccalaureate and graduate nursing programs from a lack of faculty, space, budget, and clinical sites. Most respondents to a survey from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing noted faculty shortage as their no. 1 reason. Schools noted both the inability to fill vacant faculty positions and the gap of not being able to create new faculty roles to meet demand.”

As healthcare organizations continue to face staffing shortages, they will look for ways to provide patients with the care and support they deserve. In these instances, they may consider providing additional incentives to recruit and hire job candidates.

For example, healthcare organizations may be more likely than ever before to offer competitive compensation and benefits packages to job candidates. These organizations may be willing to provide candidates with opportunities to work part-time or full-time. They may even provide additional time off and flexible work schedules.

2. More Healthcare Organizations Will Prioritize Telemedicine.

Telemedicine became exceedingly important to healthcare organizations and patients during the pandemic. Before the crisis, many patients typically required in-person care and support. However, the pandemic and the safety risks associated with the spread of COVID-19 forced healthcare organizations to revamp their approach to telemedicine. From here, telemedicine began to evolve.

Throughout the pandemic, telemedicine helped patients get the care and support they needed. Patients could schedule video chats with doctors to share their concerns and questions in real-time. Healthcare providers could administer treatments to patients from any location, at any time. This proved to be mutually beneficial for both parties.

New telemedicine technologies are in development, and healthcare providers must consider all options at their disposal. This allows providers to identify telemedicine technologies that are safe, effective, and deliver long-lasting value.

Healthcare providers must implement and manage telemedicine technologies with precision and care. These providers must teach their staff and patients about telemedicine, how it works, and its benefits, too. Then, they can ensure staff and patients can use telemedicine technologies properly. Plus, they can make it easy for staff and patients to connect with one another and optimize the patient experience.

3. Healthcare Organizations Will Help Their Workers Manage Their Wellbeing Like Never Before.

Many healthcare professionals have experienced anxiety, depression, and other mental health disorders during the pandemic. They may have tried to “tough it out” and ignore these disorders. Yet doing so can cause mental health disorder symptoms to escalate. It can result in burnout, exhaustion, and other physical health problems as well.

Healthcare organizations recognize the need to address the mental health of their staff. Some organizations have created strategies designed to help healthcare professionals mitigate stressors of potential future pandemics and health crises. The strategies help these professionals manage the mental strain that is exerted on them during crises. They ensure staff receives adequate care and support with their mental health concerns and questions.

Also, healthcare organizations are putting a greater emphasis on workers’ physical well-being. For instance, some organizations are educating their workers about eye strain and the health concerns associated with it. This helps workers guard against vision problems that can crop up, particularly as more healthcare organizations promote the use of telemedicine.

Education is key for healthcare organizations to help workers manage their overall wellness as well. Healthcare organizations can provide workers with training and resources to educate workers about mental and physical health disorders. They can encourage workers to be proactive to identify and address such issues as soon as symptoms start to appear. That way, healthcare organizations can help staff members consistently feel and perform their best.

Plan Ahead for the Future of Healthcare

Healthcare professionals should keep a close eye on the industry. These professionals can keep pace with industry trends and see how the sector is changing. They can then help lead the industry to new heights.