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February 25, 2022

Combating the Healthcare Labor Crisis with Intelligent Infrastructure and the Autonomous Pharmacy

Ken Perez
VP, Healthcare Policy and Government Affairs

Life in the United States is a series of constantly changing certainties. As our population grows and ages, so does the demand for healthcare. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the healthcare sector is expected to grow 14 percent from 2018 to 2028, due in part to an aging population with more healthcare needs.

On top of this growth, the Great Resignation has thrown a big curveball to the healthcare industry. And regardless of Omicron subsiding, the pandemic has not ended yet.

The BLS reports that 3.8 million people resigned from their positions in April 2021, followed by a string of more record resignations in the following months.

  • 9 million in June
  • 2 million in July
  • 3 million in August
  • 4 million in September
  • More than 24 million Americans quit their jobs from April to September 2021

This mass, sustained departure from the workforce raises the obvious question: why is it occurring? Obviously, the COVID-19 pandemic triggered the most stress and burnout among healthcare workers. As a result, healthcare workers began asserting their rights and demanding better compensation, more flexibility, less stress, and a heightened sense of job satisfaction. A staggering 524,000 healthcare jobs were lost from February to September 2021! And even before the pandemic, healthcare had an aging workforce that was not being adequately replaced by younger generations. And increased demand for care.

Healthcare staffing is also affected by increased demand for healthcare services. Despite the Omicron variant, patient volume for elective procedures is expected to rebound and surpass pre-pandemic levels. According to a McKinsey & Co. survey of 100 large private-sector hospitals, inpatient admissions are now back to 2019 levels on average and are expected to increase by 4 percent this year compared to 2019.

For pharmacy and other hospital areas, technology can provide a long-term solution by allowing a healthcare organization to maximize its use of existing personnel. Intelligent infrastructure that integrates technologies such as automation, robotics, and data intelligence could improve productivity and free up time for more meaningful clinical work centered on patient care – a key goal of the Autonomous Pharmacy vision.

Complete this self-assessment created by the Autonomous Pharmacy Advisory Board to uncover strategies that can help you achieve a more autonomous pharmacy and be better positioned to cope with ongoing labor shortages.

      The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organization, employer, or company. Assumptions made in the analysis are not reflective of the position of any entity other than the author(s). These views are always subject to change, revision, and rethinking at any time and may not be held in perpetuity.