Harnessing IT to attract and retain medical professionals in the healthcare industry

Harnessing IT to attract and retain medical professionals in the healthcare industry
Leigh Venter, Stream Lead for Healthcare and Logistics at T-Systems South Africa and Henri la Grange, Build SAP Line Manager at T-Systems South Africa.

Harnessing IT to attract and retain medical professionals in the healthcare industry
Leigh Venter, Stream Lead for Healthcare and Logistics at T-Systems South Africa and Henri la Grange, Build SAP Line Manager at T-Systems South Africa.

Recruiting and retaining medical professionals is integral to the successful operation of healthcare facilities, as they form a key part of the ecosystem that contributes to the quality of the facility and ultimately its success, reputation and resultant profitability.

Yet, retaining the right talent can be challenging at times, with doctors, nurses and specialists likely to gravitate towards hospitals and clinics that can provide better working environments and equipment, as well as systems that streamline their jobs and allows for more time to be spent with patients.

That is why successful healthcare organisations place huge emphasis on attracting human resource assets and aggressively seek to resolve and prevent high employee turnover.

Henri la Grange, Build SAP Line Manager at T-Systems South Africa, points out that there is a lot of staff movement within the industry, especially within the private healthcare space, with doctors often seeking positions at facilities that offer the best equipment.

Crucially, he adds, patients will often follow a doctor to a new clinic or hospital, meaning that this is an added advantage for the healthcare facility that not only recruited a qualified doctor, but also stands to gain financially from taking on host of new patients.

One of the ways to attract and retain staff is to provide a fully integrated information technology healthcare system, which is something that is at the top of healthcare professionals’ wish list, says la Grange.

“The easier it is for them to do their jobs, the easier it is to retain them, from the point of view of a clinic or hospital,” he says.

A study into the retention of healthcare professionals found that availability and use of IT was one factor that affected job satisfaction among health professionals, as it impacted the work environment and career growth, influencing staff’s intention to stay at a particular facility.

As a result, the research suggests a retention strategy that utilises implementation of healthcare IT and provision of training to influence the retention of healthcare workers.

La Grange says that one of the biggest challenges faced by doctors and nurses is eliminating inefficiencies and the resultant frustration that is associated with administrative tasks.

“Not being able to access patients’ medical records from previous admissions is a massive pain point for doctors and nurses, and often – once these paper-based files do arrive – documents tend to be missing from them,” he says.

Similarly, doctors are often frustrated with the time that it takes to receive tests results, which in turn delays the start of treatment and impacts on patient satisfaction.

“An IT healthcare solution can address both pain points quite easily: an integrated system can call up a patient’s medical files at the touch of a button, while lab and radiology results can be obtained in real-time,” says la Grange.

Leigh Venter, Stream Lead for Healthcare and Logistics at T-Systems South Africa, says that the need for nurses to complete multiple forms and documents leaves them with less time to provide patient care.

“They simply don’t have time to nurse. Most hospitals are short-staffed, with a high patient-to-nurse ratio. This means that a lot of quality care is being delivered on paper, but not in reality,” she says.

She adds that utilising a healthcare IT system also provides hospitals and clinics with the ability to manage staff rotation more efficiently, which provides for great flexibility.

“A time management system allows unit management to know how many staff are coming in and they can plan accordingly. Due to the ability to preregister patients, they can also plan for busy days and don’t have to keep staff on duty when it’s quiet. This can even be done weeks in advance,” says Venter.

Technology can provide solutions to almost all the challenges faced by medical professionals, from monitoring pharmacy stock to uploading blood pressure, oxygen and heart rate information onto a digital platform that can deliver real-time, as well as historical information, she adds.

Crucially though, healthcare IT systems can help with employee retention, which is one of the most significant challenges face by the industry today.

On 11 September 2019, IT News Africa in partnership with T-Systems will host the Healthcare Executive Golf Day and Cocktail Dinner at the Kyalami Country Club, Johannesburg.

The Executive Golf Day is a free to attend event that offers an opportunity to network with like-minded peers in the industry in a fun, interactive and memorable way over a day of golf.

Non-golfer executives are also invited to join us for a Networking Cocktail Dinner after the game.
To take part in the event, Click Here to enter your details and submit your application.

Staff Writer