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Monday, January 30, 2023

Survey: Technology plays critical role in enhancing employee experience and patient care

The pandemic has profoundly disrupted the healthcare industry at every level, and frontline workers have borne the brunt of the impact. Long hours, highly stressful conditions, extraordinary patient-care expectations, and labor and supply shortages have accompanied the ever-present risk posed by working in hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare environments. The latest research from Microsoft’s Work
Trend Index shows that many frontline workers in healthcare are at an inflection point and are
considering a job change, calling attention to critical experience gaps and staffing shortages.
The research, based on a survey of frontline workers across industries conducted in October and
November 2021, features insights into frontline experiences and innovations that empower employees.

It sought to better understand the impact of the pandemic on frontline workers, the role technology plays in their jobs, and the ways in which technology can support wellbeing and productivity. Among healthcare industry respondents, it showed three important ways that organizations can use technology to cultivate an environment that retains and motivates critical staff by ensuring that they have the tools they need to learn quickly, stay connected, and feel supported on the job.

Cohesive tools enhance productivity and improve patient care Healthcare employers are endeavoring to provide frontline workers with new technology—and workforces are eager for these tools. Facing increased telehealth touchpoints, pressures for faster care, and backlogs of nonemergent medical needs, nearly half (48 percent) of frontline workers say that better tech on the job would help significantly. Those surveyed prioritized technology that helps automate repetitive tasks, onboard new workers, and efficiently schedule and manage teams.

As an example, the application of AI and other advanced analytics to data from electronic health
records, clinical documentation, remote patient monitoring, and other sources enables frontline medical professionals and administrators to better coordinate care across departments and organizations. With access to the complete patient profile from first contact through treatment, discharge, and at-home care, healthcare workers save precious time, accelerate treatment, and create a more cohesive patient journey.

In-context insights streamline learning, working, and stress management New technologies can help frontline workers respond to novel challenges, but at a time when workers must quickly adapt to shifting pandemic pressures, formal training is often deprioritized. Despite interest in using new digital tools at work, 60 percent of survey respondents say they feel they have been learning on the fly; 42 percent say they expect to struggle.

There’s tremendous opportunity for AI-enabled knowledge-sharing and collaboration tools to transform the technology experience with in-the-moment, context-appropriate training and insights for an evolving frontline workforce. And with a population of younger, less experienced workers replacing exiting seasoned personnel, this is mission critical.

Surfacing data and tools for healthcare’s frontline workers through technology such as Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare can improve their visibility into the patient journey and access to workplace resources. It can highlight patient trends, staff and scheduling gaps, and low supplies. It can even provide self-care tools, helping frontline teams get ahead of potential stressors. All of this enables faster, informed decision-making and, ultimately, better patient care.

A stronger, more cohesive culture builds engagement Though healthcare organizations have made strides in implementing tech that empowers their workforces, the survey shows that more progress remains in engaging workers and ensuring that they feel valued. While patient needs are paramount, it’s critical to focus on the frontline worker experience, too. Our survey results reflected two specific areas that leadership can prioritize to alleviate this concern: a strong culture and effective communication.

Communication and collaboration tools that connect frontline workers with healthcare management can foster a culture of transparency, engagement, and cohesion. One of my favorite examples is how Microsoft Viva enables leaders to query employees and gather anonymous feedback. This low-effort, high-reward outreach facilitates deeper and more personal sharing, yielding insights into frontline workers’ wellbeing that healthcare executives can act on to improve employee experiences.

Greater resilience and outcomes through partnership I am confident that healthcare organizations that cultivate an inclusive, communicative, and collaborative culture will attract—and retain—the best employees. Organizations that can navigate and succeed in times of change have one thing in common—they are resilient. Microsoft is committed to helping your organization strengthen resilience in people, enhance engagement, and empower frontline workers for the benefit of teams, organizations, and patients everywhere.

To learn more about the latest research from Microsoft’s Work Trend Index, featuring perspectives from the front lines, read the full report here

By Tom McGuinness, CVP, Global Healthcare & Life Sciences at Microsoft

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