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Adapt and Change

By John Fox 

Moving Healthcare Beyond the Pandemic 

While the pandemic forced much of the world to slow down, it also created waves of rapid changes to health care. Under typical circumstances, these changes might have taken years or even decades.

Change is always challenging, but it can also create new opportunities. One key example: the sudden rise and popularity of video visits with care providers. Before the pandemic, a visit to a medical practice or an urgent care could take hours if you factor in the time it takes to drive to and from your appointment. Today, that same appointment can be complete in minutes with a virtual visit. This means more convenience for consumers and more efficiency for care providers. No, virtual visits cannot replace the value of seeing a physician or nurse face to face, but, in many cases, being in the same room isn’t truly necessary thanks to technology.

At Beaumont, we are constantly evaluating how we need to adapt and change to the world today and also anticipate how we will provide health care five years from today. I think health care providers will spend more time on focusing on keeping people healthy and helping them to manage their health. Yes, hospitals will always be there to care for the sickest patients, but our goal will be to keep as many patients out of the hospital as possible. We also need to keep adapting to changing consumer preferences. For example, we’ve seen an incredible response to our urgent care centers.

Our talented physicians and staff remains at the center of everything we do. To set the context for the future, it is important to understand what was happening prior to the pandemic, specifically as it relates to nursing. We have experienced several years of a continued shortage among nursing staff. COVID-19 has exacerbated this problem for a few reasons: retirements have increased, many nurses are leaving traditional employment with hospitals and choosing nursing agency work instead.

With respect to other frontline positions, we increased our minimum wage to $15 per hour. However, competition for talent has increased significantly throughout the pandemic. We have also approached retention issues by offering sign-on and retention bonuses for certain positions, as well as increasing our shift differential rates for some jobs where greater need exists. During the first few months of 2021, we have seen a decrease in turnover, which is encouraging.

No one knows what the future holds, or what challenges we will face in the years to come, but I do know our fantastic team of health care professionals has what it takes to keep leading the way.