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3 Major Challenges Healthcare Leaders Will Face in 2021

Published Date: 01-06-2021

There’s no doubt the global COVID-19 public health emergency greatly affected the healthcare industry and every professional working within it. 

From small clinics to hospitals to long-term care facilities—no healthcare leader or organization was immune to the ways COVID-19 turned the world upside down.

Here are just a few examples: 

  • Cancelled or postponed surgeries and other services
  • Increased cost of purchasing needed for personal protective equipment
  • Nursing shortages across the United States of America
  • Overworked, stressed, and worn-out healthcare workers 

Now more than ever, outstanding healthcare leaders are needed to help with the fast-moving (and at times unpredictable) healthcare industry. Let’s take a closer look at how telehealth, cybersecurity, and workforce shortages are challenging healthcare leaders in 2021.

1. Healthcare Leaders Will Decide if Telehealth is Viable 

In 2020, leaders no longer questioned whether or not expanding telehealth was beneficial for a healthcare organization. Telehealth became a necessity for most healthcare organizations in order to better reach patients with minimum risk of COVID-19 exposure.

According to the Health Resources and Services Administration, the federal government swiftly changed policies to make telehealth accessible to providers and patients during the national emergency. However, these policies are temporary and likely to be changed.   

After the public health emergency is an event of the past, healthcare organizations will most likely still want to offer telehealth options for patients.  

But, who works on these policies? You guessed it. 

Healthcare leaders, such as health policy analysts, are ultimately responsible for considering the benefits, the drawbacks, and the cost of telehealth, and whether or not policies need to be changed to expand telehealth options for the community. 

If telehealth is expanded, then healthcare leaders will also be responsible for implementing systems and educating employees and patients about telehealth systems.  

2. Healthcare Leaders Will Spend More Time on Cybersecurity Measures 

With the move of patient’s personal information being stored online, especially medical records, it’s important today more than ever for healthcare leaders to focus on cybersecurity.   

The ransomware attack is popular among cyberattackers when targeting the healthcare industry, because the cybercriminals’ goal is to gain funds from a ransom situation.  

The cyberattacker will lock all employees out of the healthcare facility computer system, and then demand a payment to unlock the information. 

But, there is no guarantee paying the ransom will unlock the information. This is why according to a survey conducted by WSJ Pro Research, 57.5% cybersecurity leaders said they wouldn’t pay a ransomware demand.   

The effects of a cyberattack can be catastrophic, at times even resulting in providers turning away patients, transferring patients to a different facility, or smaller medical providers closing their facilities all together. 

Further effects of a cyberattack include: 

  • Loss of patient trust 
  • Loss of revenue   
  • More funds spent on acquiring new patients and rebuilding trust

Consequently, healthcare leaders will need to adjust their budgets to put IT at the forefront in order to prevent cyberattacks from happening in the first place. Leaders will also need to organize more training sessions, so staff can be well prepared to spot possible cybercriminal phishing tactics. 

3. Healthcare Leaders Will Manage A Workforce Shortage 

One of the main responsibilities falling on healthcare leaders’ shoulders is managing the overall staffing budget, which includes scheduling decisions and hiring high-skilled workers.

In the current climate of the public health emergency there is a shortage of registered nurses available. This issue isn’t going to magically resolve in 2021. 

This is due to more than 500,000 experienced registered nurses retiring by 2022. The amount of registered nurses retiring combined with other factors is actually beneficial for the future of nursing as a career. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states “Employment of registered nurses is projected to grow 7 percent from 2019 to 2029, faster than the average for all occupations.”

In the meantime, healthcare leaders will be in charge of finding and hiring more registered nurses while also balancing those already employed. Leaders will most likely need to brainstorm ideas to keep momentum moving forward, as well as focus on making sure employees really feel appreciated. 

Become a Healthcare Leader, Make a Positive Change

An MBA Healthcare Administration program prepares those who are passionate about helping people take the next step into healthcare leadership. 

Along with 8 graduate businesses courses, students will be able to choose from healthcare specialization courses such as: 

  • Healthcare Information Management
  • Legal, Ethical, Political Issues in Healthcare
  • Healthcare Finance and Improvement

Carroll University offers a well-rounded academic curriculum. Shape the positive future of healthcare — earn your online Healthcare Administration MBA.

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