- COVID-19 has exacerbated the challenge of a global shortage of health care workers, while putting them on the frontlines of the pandemic, with their own health at risk.
- On World Health Day 2022, WHO is highlighting urgent actions necessary to keep people and the planet healthy and foster a stronger focus on wellbeing.
- Six health care executives share their insights on what the biggest challenges in health care systems are right now and what solutions there can be to them.
Health care providers have been at the centre of the global battle against the COVID-19 pandemic. Especially frontline workers have put their own health and wellbeing at risk to care for patients and safe lives. While hospitals were initially struggling with insufficient protective equipment and a lack of information, the focus has increasingly turned towards staff shortages and mental health challenges.
Even before the pandemic, the global shortage in health care workers was troubling. The World Health Organisation (WHO) predicted the shortage to more than double from 7 million in 2016 to 18 million by 2030. The pandemic has only exacerbated the challenge.
In addition, key studies have revealed significant mental health challenges amongst health care workers. On World Health Day 2022, the WHO is putting global attention towards urgent actions needed to keep humans and the planet healthy. These shall foster a movement to create societies focused on wellbeing.
We have asked 6 health care executives to reflect on their biggest challenges and what solutions they are envisioning.
“The people in health care are the reason we can be optimistic about the future”
Dr Rod Hochman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Providence.
“There are numerous forces driving health care and all sectors of society to respond and transform like never before, and the impacts are exacerbated by the pandemic. These pressures should be considered as we respond to profound health care workforce shortages and develop robust support systems for our caregivers.
Entering the third year of a world-changing health disaster, health systems have been rapidly adapting to both meet the needs of patients and care for their caregivers. We are using telemonitoring to allow patients heal at home and keep our caregivers safe, and are developing other telehealth models. Collaborations are creating and integrating AI and digital solutions to support providers, along with vital research to find potential new treatment paths for COVID-19.
Following the stress and burnout frontline health care workers have experienced during the past two years, many of us have declared 2022 the year of the caregiver. Healing and rebuilding our workforce are paramount and we’re investing to make that happen. New workforce-centered mental health programs create safe spaces, and we offer free counseling for caregivers and their families plus a range of other supportive services. Human resource strategies include inspiring and developing our people through recognition, referral and recruitment bonuses, fair and equitable pay, predictive hiring and scheduling, and tuition reimbursement. We are recruiting in new ways