The COVID-19 pandemic caused major disruptions to the healthcare staffing industry. Some of the known impacts include high turnover rates and nurse and physician burnout.
But there’s at least one major impact on the staffing industry that is still yet to be seen: The patients who deferred care in 2020.
An estimated 28.4 million elective surgeries were canceled or postponed in 2020 worldwide, according to CovidSurg. That was due to a range of causes, from government shutdowns to general concerns over COVID.
That’s in the face of a growing shortage of providers: The Association of American Medical Colleges now projects a shortage of up to 124,000 physicians by 2034, with the largest disparity in the area of specialty doctors.
“It’s going to really strain the already strained system as it is,” said Jim Chandler, senior vice president of the Health Carousel Locum Network. “It presents some challenges, but I also think it presents some opportunities.”
Now, healthcare facilities must prepare to care for an unknown number of patients who have chronic conditions — diagnosed or not — and needs that continue to develop.
“There's clearly a backlog. I mean, it's not like the surgeries just go away,” Chandler said.
The pandemic also led to positive progress in the healthcare workforce — including the reduced red tape for telemedicine. “Easing some of the restrictions with respect to that, I think, was big,” Chandler said.
During a recorded interview, Chandler spoke about how COVID-19 reduced the red tape around telehealth billing and the changing demand for locum physicians.