How to Combat Healthcare Staffing Shortages Using AI Technology - Augmedix (2023)

Feb 20, 2023 | Blogs, Featured

How to Combat Healthcare Staffing Shortages Using AI Technology - Augmedix (1)

With clinicians leaving the workplace in unprecedented numbers, healthcare staffing shortages have become a substantial concern across the U.S.

The need for healthcare workers has never been more urgent. As the Baby Boomer population continues to age, in the coming years the situation will only worsen as clinicians will require expanded healthcare operations to treat an aging population.

While staffing shortages are already pushing waiting times at hospitals to the brink, we are also looming on the edge of even greater problems moving into the future. In less than a decade, the aging population of America will be inescapable. The U.S. Census Bureau reported that by 2034, there will be 77 million people aged 65 years and older compared to 76.5 million under the age of 18. With this growing number of older adults, the country will see greater demands for healthcare. And, if the staffing shortage problem isn’t addressed soon, we could face significant challenges in caring for our elderly population.

To combat the crisis of staffing today, healthcare operations need to address the factors that are causing clinicians to leave the field. Retaining talent, especially in a moment where there simply may not be enough people to staff positions, will depend on artificial intelligence (AI) technology to fill gaps and address stressors that are leading to attrition. Furthermore, these technological advances are also helping clinicians become more efficient than ever— ensuring that patients receive the best healthcare possible.

Why is There a Shortage of Healthcare Workers in the U.S.?

Concerns around the shortage of healthcare workers across the U.S. is multifaceted.

(Video) See the Patient, Not the Technology

What’s Causing Hospital Staffing Shortages?

A closer look at the number of clinicians leaving the workplace reveals that, while COVID-19 has had a significant impact on staffing shortages, the problem goes back further than the pandemic.

Hospital staffing shortages are largely driven by stress from understaffing, long hours, and increasing administrative burdens, as well as a massive growth in expenses in comparison to hospital operating margins.

With clinicians being pushed to perform more work with fewer resources and support, increased time is being spent completing paperwork, and less time is spent treating patients, causing highly educated and experienced individuals to leave the field due to burnout.

Providing further evidence that the healthcare staffing shortage could result in a public health crisis, as per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics there are at least 176,000 more open healthcare jobs now than there were before pre-pandemic levels, and 23% of hospitals have reported critical staffing shortages.

What’s Causing Nursing Staff Shortages?

Simultaneously, as physicians are pushed beyond capacity, registered nurses are also feeling severe burnout. With nursing vacancy rates continuing to rise across the country, the long-term implications are alarming. The same age disparity that will come to influence the inability to adequately treat Baby Boomers, can also be seen in the age distribution of nurses themselves.

As maintained by the American Hospital Association (AHA), “The staffing crisis currently plaguing our nation’s hospitals is only expected to worsen. In 2017, more than half of nurses were aged 50 and older, and almost 30% were aged 60 and older. And due to significant shortages of faculty, classroom space and clinical training sites, nursing schools actually had to turn away more than 80,000 qualified applicants in 2019.” Now in 2023, the estimated shortages are predicted to reach 1.1 million nurses.

At a time when the need for providers and nursing staff couldn’t be more crucial, there is great concern around what the future of nursing will look like.

With 52% of nurses considering leaving the field, what incentives or requirements are needed to retain talent? According to the AHA, “Among nurses who are considering leaving the profession, higher pay was the most influential motivation to stay, followed by better support for work-life balance and more reasonable workload.”

Tools like AI can be used to offload many of the tasks that are causing nurses to leave the field including, the growing administrative burdens that add additional workload stress.

The Impact of Staff Shortages in Healthcare

During the pandemic physician happiness at work dropped significantly, and we have yet to see it rebound. According to Medscape’s 2023 Physician Lifestyle and Happiness Report, 59% of physicians reported feeling “somewhat” or “very happy,” down from 84% before the pandemic. With more healthcare professionals resigning than ever before, the repercussions are considerable for both clinicians and patients.

(Video) How Clinicians Practice Medicine with Augmedix's Notebuilder Platform

Extended Wait Times

In life-threatening emergencies, receiving adequate medical treatment can mean the difference between positive and negative outcomes. Delayed care has the potential to escalate a medical emergency, making timely access to healthcare professionals so key.

Regrettably, waiting times have grown so long that patients are leaving the ER before even seeing a clinician. As reported by U.S. News, “When hospital occupancy topped 85% during the COVID-19 pandemic between January 2020 and December 2021, boarding times exceeded 6.5 hours, compared with 2.4 hours during times when hospitals were less crowded. Boarding times worsened throughout this period, the study showed.”

Insufficient Patient Care

Many believe that clinicians who are experiencing burnout provide less than adequate care for the patients that they are treating. And rightfully so, as burnout affects the quality of care and patient outcomes.

Additionally, the National Library of Medicine (NLM) found the professional consequences of clinician burnout have been associated with the failure of interpersonal relationships, increased medical errors, increased risk of malpractice, and reduced patient satisfaction.

A Worsening Crisis

The staffing shortage crisis will only get worse, as 1 in 5 physicians intend to leave the field within the next two years, according to the American Medical Association (AMA).

Physicians are leaving the field at alarming rates, with a study from the University of Minnesota finding providers exiting at a rate four times higher than before the pandemic. With so many clinicians leaving at a dire moment, hospitals are less equipped to perform specialized treatments for patients including complex medical conditions that require a higher level of clinical care, including heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes.

With fewer clinicians and less time with patients, the provider and patient relationship has also been significantly impacted. When clinicians aren’t actively engaged with the patient, they can miss critical details that could impact outcomes as well as the opportunity to build trust, and strengthen the patient experience. There are also concerns that the loss may result in patients being more likely to go to the emergency room or get costly, specialized care.

How to Mitigate Staffing Shortages in Healthcare with AI

Subsequently, clinicians and patients need a solution that enables forming a human connection at the point of care, where the clinician is able to be fully present with each patient.

Resolve Bottlenecks in Clinical Practices

By identifying and addressing bottlenecks in clinical practices, clinicians and patients can see great improvement. In emergency room (ER) settings, many patients are leaving the waiting room due to excessive waiting times. Shockingly, we are even seeing some patients leaving their beds because they continue to wait to see a provider to no avail. Patients leaving in the midst of care should not become an acceptable standard.

Clinicians are spending too much time performing tasks that take them away from seeing patients including documentation and cognitive burdens when working with electronic health records (EHR).

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With a multitude of information for each patient, clinicians need user-friendly tools that seamlessly integrate into clinical workflows. AI solutions like Augmedix complete paperwork for clinicians, adding up to 3 hours back into the day which means seeing more patients and lowering wait times. When clinicians are able to focus on the patient, they are more efficient and productive.

Alleviate Burnout

To properly address the staffing shortage crisis, we must alleviate burnout. Better support for work-life balance and a more reasonable workload are two of the primary demands that healthcare professionals are asking for.

Clerical work appears to be one of the biggest culprits. An NIH study found that “clerical work intrudes on the physician’s time, resulting in emotional exhaustion, depersonalization or a diminished sense of personal success, substance abuse, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and suicidality. Emotional exhaustion forms the core of physician burnout.”

AI technology has been employed to find a solution. By removing tasks that can be automated, clinicians are better equipped to address the most pressing needs faced by patients. Enabling clinicians to have natural conversations with their patients, Augmedix directly reduces burnout by blending human expertise with automatic documentation.

Address Mental Health Needs of Staff

There is significant evidence that burnout is a primary driver of turnover. By removing the burden of clerical work, clinicians can get back to the work they care about most — seeing patients.

Rehumanizing the clinician-patient relationship, Augmedix can indirectly address the mental health needs of clinicians by alleviating their primary stressors. By addressing clinician burnout around data entry and administrative work, burden is greatly reduced.

AI can’t do this alone, but when paired with adequate services that help clinicians cope with the demands placed on them, a more comprehensive method of treating healthcare staffing shortages can be implemented.

Augmedix Provides a Full Suite of AI Solutions to Combat Staffing Shortages in Healthcare

From automating workflows, streamlining how information is captured in the EHR and reducing administrative tasks, Augmedix’s AI medical documentation services increase retention and productivity, improve clinician well-being and enhance clinician and patient satisfaction.

Interested in learning more? Download a white paper or watch a webinar on the causes of clinician staffing shortages and how it can be addressed with Augmedix’s suite of AI solutions.

(Video) Webinar: Can We Stop the Impending Physician Staffing Shortage?


How do you deal with staffing shortages in healthcare? ›

Adjusting staff schedules, hiring additional HCP, and rotating HCP to positions that support patient care activities. Cancel all non-essential procedures and visits. Shift HCP who work in these areas to support other patient care activities in the facility.

How AI can improve healthcare? ›

Examples of AI in Medicine and Healthcare

AI can improve healthcare by streamlining diagnoses and improve clinical outcomes. A critical part AI's power in the healthcare industry is its ability to analyze a vast amount of data sets. Digital health startup Thymia is a prime example.

How AI is used in healthcare industry? ›

Role of AI in Healthcare

AI algorithms make the systems more precise as they get the opportunity to understand training data, which furthers helps humans get unprecedented insights into treatment variability, care processes, diagnostics, and patient results.

What are examples of artificial intelligence in healthcare? ›

AI in Healthcare Applications
  • Improving medical diagnosis.
  • Speeding up drug discovery.
  • Transforming patient experience.
  • Managing healthcare data.
  • Performing robotic surgery.
Sep 26, 2022

What are 5 current strategies to address the nursing shortage? ›

  • 1 | Listening to Nurses Concerns. ...
  • 2 | Prioritizing Workplace Culture Increases Retention. ...
  • 3 | Prioritizing Nurse Retention Levels. ...
  • 4 | Increasing Diversity in the Nursing Student Body. ...
  • 5 | Addressing the Need for More Nurse Educators. ...
  • 6 | Using Innovation to Address the Nursing Shortage.

How can we solve the problem of staffing? ›

Simple Staffing Solutions
  1. Develop a long-term recruiting strategy. ...
  2. Determine your needs. ...
  3. Offer incentives to employees. ...
  4. Think through your interview process. ...
  5. Offer a competitive compensation package. ...
  6. Make expectations crystal clear. ...
  7. Empower employees. ...
  8. Spotlight growth opportunities.

How can AI improve healthcare in the future? ›

By using artificial intelligence, companies will be able to accelerate the process of drug discovery. By using AI, researchers will be able to assess vast amounts of patient outcome data to identify substances that are more likely to be effective against certain diseases.

Will AI replace healthcare workers? ›

If AI continues to improve, researchers believe that certain jobs could disappear. AI will not replace Doctors and Nursing, but it will allow a small number of healthcare professionals to serve a larger community. This is impossible today. The future demand for healthcare jobs is shifting to other roles.

What is the future role of AI in healthcare? ›

The future outlook for AI

The best opportunities for AI in healthcare over the next few years are hybrid models, where clinicians are supported in diagnosis, treatment planning, and identifying risk factors, but retain ultimate responsibility for the patient's care.

What are the four uses of AI in healthcare? ›

Deep learning AI can be used to help detect diseases faster, provide personalized treatment plans and even automate certain processes such as drug discovery or diagnostics. It also holds promise for improving patient outcomes, increasing safety and reducing costs associated with healthcare delivery.

What are the challenges of AI in healthcare? ›

However, to fully realize these benefits, significant challenges such as data privacy and security, bias in the data, lack of transparency, regulation and governance, and lack of understanding need to be overcome.

How are robots and AI used in healthcare? ›

Some simple routine checkups may include evaluating the patient's blood pressure, sugar levels, and temperature. Additionally, the technology of robots engaged in the task mentioned above is based on AI and machine learning; hence, they continuously learn from their patients' experiences.

What are the five examples of artificial intelligence? ›

Artificial Intelligence Examples
  • Manufacturing robots.
  • Self-driving cars.
  • Smart assistants.
  • Healthcare management.
  • Automated financial investing.
  • Virtual travel booking agent.
  • Social media monitoring.
  • Marketing chatbots.

What is artificial intelligence AI )? Give any five examples? ›

Artificial intelligence is the simulation of human intelligence processes by machines, especially computer systems. Specific applications of AI include expert systems, natural language processing, speech recognition and machine vision.

What are three real life example of AI? ›

Apple's Siri, Google Now, Amazon's Alexa, and Microsoft's Cortana are one of the main examples of AI in everyday life. These digital assistants help users perform various tasks, from checking their schedules and searching for something on the web, to sending commands to another app.

How do you fix nursing staffing shortages? ›

Hire more nurses: If possible, hire more nurses to provide adequate cover for each shift. Another option is to work with a staffing agency to bring on nurses as needed. If your facility has a large enough pool, it's unlikely you'll have difficulty getting enough people to work each shift.

What is the solution to the nursing staff shortage? ›

Another solution proposed to alleviate the workforce shortage is to increase the number of nursing programs or to have existing programs admit more students per class or semester. Petitions have been made to Congress and state government leaders to increase funding for such programs, faculty, or building space.

Why is there a shortage of healthcare workers? ›

One of the main causes is the aging population: both patients and health care workers. As the general population ages their need for medical care increases, but as aging doctors, nurses, and health care workers retire or leave the workforce, they are not being sufficiently replaced by new ones.

What are the four staffing strategies? ›

This sample International Recruitment Policy template describes the four global staffing approaches: ethnocentric, polycentric geocentric, regiocentric, and it will help you set up your own international staffing strategy.

What should companies do to improve their staffing systems? ›

Use the following 10 ideas to heighten your company's recruiting efforts.
  1. Use Applicant Tracking Systems. ...
  2. Improve Job Descriptions. ...
  3. Utilize Your Internal Team. ...
  4. Strengthen Communication With Applicants. ...
  5. Adopt Interviewing Best Practices. ...
  6. Source Candidates to Build Your Talent Pipeline. ...
  7. Show Off Your Company's Culture.
Mar 23, 2021

How do you improve staffing? ›

7 steps for creating staffing strategies that work
  1. Determine your business goals. ...
  2. Establish your current people landscape. ...
  3. Analyse people patterns. ...
  4. Identify staffing and people needs. ...
  5. Create a future staffing projection. ...
  6. Develop a strong employer brand and workplace culture. ...
  7. Review the plan regularly.
Oct 12, 2020

What is AI technology in healthcare? ›

AI in healthcare is an umbrella term to describe the application of machine learning (ML) algorithms and other cognitive technologies in medical settings. In the simplest sense, AI is when computers and other machines mimic human cognition, and are capable of learning, thinking, and making decisions or taking actions.

What is the future of AI in nursing? ›

The Future of Health Policy

With AI systems, nurses can more easily recognize flaws and communicate with other team members and their superiors what changes need to be made to improve policies to provide better patient care. They can also use AI to address and correct these inefficiencies.

How much can AI save in healthcare? ›

Specifically, the report estimates that the wider adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) use in healthcare could potentially save the U.S. healthcare system between 5% and 10% each year. In real dollars, that's around $200 billion to $360 billion in annual spending.

Will AI replace most workers in the future? ›

Therefore, individuals and organizations need to adapt to the changing nature of work and develop new skills to thrive in the future. However, the rise in the use of AI does not mean a replacement for humans but rather a tool that can enhance human capabilities and lead to greater productivity and innovation.

How many workers will be replaced by AI? ›

Global outplacement and executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas recently asked the "generative AI" tool, developed by research firm OpenAI, in plain English how many workers it expects to replace. The answer: 4.8 million American jobs.

How AI is changing medical practice? ›

By using machine learning algorithms, scientists are able to understand how diseases work and how they can be treated. This allows doctors to find new ways to treat patients and avoid dangerous treatments. Healthcare providers use artificial intelligence to help diagnose disease and predict patient outcomes.

What are three 3 benefits of artificial intelligence AI technology in healthcare? ›


AI-equipped technology can analyse data much faster than any human, including clinical studies, medical records and genetic information that can help medical professionals come to a diagnosis. AI can automate many routine tasks, such as maintaining records, data entry and scan analysis.

What are the impacts of AI in the healthcare workforce? ›

AI can lead to better care outcomes and improve the productivity and efficiency of care delivery. It can also improve the day-to-day life of healthcare practitioners, letting them spend more time looking after patients and in so doing, raise staff morale and improve retention.

What problems might these AI solve? ›

World Problems Solved by AI
  • Healthcare.
  • Wildlife Conservation.
  • Learning and Training.
  • Transportation.
  • Hiring.
  • Renewable Energy Sector.
  • Research and Development.
  • Logistics and Operations.
Mar 23, 2023

What are 3 advantages to using robots in healthcare? ›

Robotic Surgery using Surgical Robots

Because of smaller incisions, robotic surgery, in particular, has reduced the risk of infection and resulted in a shorter hospitalization time. Furthermore, because it is less invasive, robotics in healthcare reduces blood loss, and transfusions, and improves patient recovery time.

What are 3 things artificial intelligence AI is capable of today? ›

Definition of artificial intelligence

AI is the ability of a machine to display human-like capabilities such as reasoning, learning, planning and creativity. AI enables technical systems to perceive their environment, deal with what they perceive, solve problems and act to achieve a specific goal.

What is strong artificial intelligence examples? ›

Here are some examples: Self-driving cars: Google and Elon Musk have shown us that self-driving cars are possible. However, self-driving cars require more training data and testing due to the various activities that it needs to account for, such as giving right of way or identifying debris on the road.

What are examples of AI technology and how is it used today? ›

Artificial Intelligence finds diverse applications in the healthcare sector. AI applications are used in healthcare to build sophisticated machines that can detect diseases and identify cancer cells. Artificial Intelligence can help analyze chronic conditions with lab and other medical data to ensure early diagnosis.

What are the five major artificial intelligent AI technologies? ›

Five AI technologies that you need to know
  • Artificial Intelligence. ...
  • Machine learning is a method of data analysis that automates analytical model building. ...
  • Deep Learning. ...
  • Natural Language Processing. ...
  • Computer Vision.

What is the most advanced AI today? ›

Now the AI technology is being implemented in a robot named Ameca. As such, social media users are being surprised by Ameca, a robot with incredible lingual abilities via AI that was designed by UK startup Engineered Arts.

How do we use AI in everyday life? ›

Already, AI- and machine learning-enabled technologies are used in medicine, transportation, robotics, science, education, the military, surveillance, finance and its regulation, agriculture, entertainment, retail, customer service, and manufacturing.

What are the advantages of artificial intelligence? ›

What are the advantages of Artificial Intelligence?
  • AI drives down the time taken to perform a task. ...
  • AI enables the execution of hitherto complex tasks without significant cost outlays.
  • AI operates 24x7 without interruption or breaks and has no downtime.
  • AI augments the capabilities of differently abled individuals.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of AI? ›

But beyond the headlines that either peddle hype or fear, what does AI do? The advantages range from streamlining, saving time, eliminating biases, and automating repetitive tasks, just to name a few. The disadvantages are things like costly implementation, potential human job loss, and lack of emotion and creativity.

What solutions do you feel should be explored to combat physician and staffing shortages? ›

Combatting the complex physician shortage issue will require a multi-pronged effort on the part of individual organizations and industry leaders. Organizations should consider focusing on utilizing non-physician clinicians, better staff scheduling strategy, and creating incentives for new hires.

How do you hire during staffing shortage? ›

7 Strategies to Hire Employees During Labor Shortage
  1. Highlight the Company Culture. ...
  2. Leverage Your Candidate Database. ...
  3. Showcase Benefits in Job Descriptions. ...
  4. Don't Overlook Employment Gaps. ...
  5. Optimize the Application Process. ...
  6. Improve Employee Onboarding. ...
  7. Leverage the Right Recruitment Technology.

What causes staff shortages in healthcare? ›

Burnout can lead directly to staffing shortages in health care, as people leave the profession.

What are the issues with short staffing in nursing? ›

Nursing is emotionally and physically exhausting with proper patient ratios. The more understaffed shifts nurses are forced to endure, the faster they will experience burnout. Burnout costs nurses their careers and facilities an average of $60k to replace RNs.

Why is nursing staffing shortage a problem? ›

Nursing shortages lead to errors, higher morbidity, and mortality rates. In hospitals with high patient-to-nurse ratios, nurses experience burnout, dissatisfaction, and the patients experienced higher mortality and failure-to-rescue rates than facilities with lower patient-to-nurse ratios.

What are the problems with staff shortage? ›

Overworked staff: Understaffing means that existing staffers are working more days and longer hours, which can cause serious safety issues. When staff members burn out, their chances of accidents, illness and injury increase. Mistakes at work: Overworked staff are likely to overlook things and miss deadlines at work.

What action will you take if you are short of staff during a shift? ›

1. Offer more hours to current employees. This is perhaps the easiest and quickest solution for staff shortages. Companies have people who already know the job and may be interested in working additional hours.

How would you handle a busy day and you are short staffed? ›

Focus on Necessary Tasks

When you foresee that you will be short-staffed, take time to determine which tasks are essential. Next, work as a team to complete those essential tasks first. After those have been completed, utilize your less busy moments by moving onto projects with later deadlines.

What are some of the most important healthcare issues confronting under resourced communities? ›

Lack of Health Care Providers in Urban and Rural Areas
  • A high patient-to-primary care physician ratio.
  • A greater proportion of poor people.
  • Few transportation options.
  • Lack of high-speed internet access.

How do employers combat labor shortages? ›

To address worsening labor shortages, employers are attracting candidates by offering starting and sign-on bonuses and increasing the transparency of salary information in job ads. They are lowering educational requirements and offering more initial job training.

What is one potential solution to the primary care physician shortage in this country? ›

Telemedicine has long been considered a solid solution to physician shortage problems, particularly in countries that have a severely limited supply.

How do you increase staffing? ›

6 Tips To Achieve Ideal Staffing Levels In Your Facility
  1. Clearly define your business objectives. Related Content. ...
  2. Gauge your current workforce. ...
  3. Track upcoming events and trends. ...
  4. Include your organization culture in your staffing strategy. ...
  5. Develop a staffing forecast. ...
  6. Review your plans periodically.
May 29, 2021

How do I attract more applicants? ›

5 Ways to Attract Top Candidates to Your Open Positions
  1. Company Website. Oftentimes, the first interaction you will have with a candidate is through your company website. ...
  2. Mobile-Friendly Career Page. ...
  3. Social Media. ...
  4. Leverage Video. ...
  5. Hiring Managers and Employees Need to be Brand Ambassadors. ...
  6. Learn from Your Efforts.


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6. Improving Patient Care through New Innovations: Spring 2022 Investor Conference Panel
(Lytham Partners)


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