2 Ways to Address Today’s Labor Shortage

Supply Chain Leaders Can Gain Valuable Time Back, Save Time And Money

September 26, 2022

There’s no doubt that labor shortages are among the biggest challenges facing healthcare leaders. Hospital CEOs cite staffing as their number one concern.1

A recent Owens & Minor survey found that 55% of hospital purchasing leaders say personnel shortages are a significant challenge, with 38% stating that staffing is an investment priority. In anesthesiology, job openings in the last year spiked 70% for nurse anesthetists and 57% for anesthesiologists. 1   And nearly half of healthcare revenue cycle leaders also say their departments are facing severe labor shortages2.

Why is this happening?

Pandemic burnout and the ease of moving from one hospital to another are two of the main causes.3 When people leave, it puts an extra workload on staff who are still there. Inflation, housing, childcare, transportation, and a hospital’s overall culture are among the other factors employees have to consider. 3

With population growth at its lowest in history4, many experts believe worker shortages will be a long-term problem.

A recent study projects that the U.S. will face significant healthcare worker shortages in the coming decade.5  One reason is our aging population, with people in the Baby Boomer demographic requiring more medical care, often from specialists. Overall, people are also living longer and developing chronic conditions that need to be treated as they age.

With the over-65 population growing by 48% in the next 10 years, many physicians now working will be reaching retirement age. In fact, the American Association of Medical Colleges estimates a shortage of 122,000 physicians by 2032. 5 The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts the demand for qualified nurses will increase much faster than the need for all professionals in the coming decade.5 And that’s the tip of the iceberg in terms of healthcare staffing shortages.

How do we address the problem?

Hospitals are dealing with shortages in a number of ways. Many are offering increased compensation and signing bonuses to registered nurses, as well as filling in with contract traveling nurses. 6  For physicians, hospitals often provide signing bonuses, flexible hours, and even assist with finding employment for a partner or spouse6.

Recent research shows that a patient-centered environment is important to both nurses and physicians.  As a leader in healthcare distribution and logistics, Owens & Minor has the products and services that can help you optimize your resources and help your staff remain focused on patient health, as you advance the health of your supply chain.

Here are two solutions you can implement to help maximize labor resources, minimize tedious tasks, free up staff time to be more efficient -- and at the same time lower costs:

1. Owens & Minor Logical Unit of Measure (LUM) Solutions Give You Valuable Time Back

With LUM solutions, you can achieve the right level of inventory to support patient care, exactly when and where you need it. You’ll reduce expenses and save valuable staff time by having orders picked, packed, and delivered (by Owens & Minor) straight to a department or point-of-use.

Your labor resources are maximized so staff spend more time on higher-value activities across more departments. Fewer orders will flow through bulk storage locations, requiring less labor and supported by Owens & Minor’s technology. All this will minimize the time your staff spends on ordering products, putting away and chasing down supplies in case of stockouts. Plus, you’ll minimize product expiration and obsolescence because Owens & Minor will monitor this for you.

With LUM, up to 80% less space is required for inventory, up to 40% less labor is required, and that gives clinicians 30 – 50% more time for patient care.*

The first step is to sign up for a logistics optimization assessment with one of Owens & Minor’s supply chain specialists.

2. Owens & Minor Expanded Access Program Saves You Time And Money

Purchasing directly from multiple vendors can result in added cost, complexity, freight charges, and labor. Many vendors have purchase and order level requirements in place for direct deliveries. It can cost up to 50% more and can take longer to place and receive direct-buy orders versus ordering from a distributor. 7

With its Expanded Access program, Owens & Minor helps you identify opportunities to bring your direct-from-vendor purchases through the Owens & Minor distribution channel. They offer one of the largest global portfolios of proprietary, branded and qualified diversity suppliers, giving you visibility and control over the products that best meet your needs.

You’ll place more orders through EDI, saving time and money on procurement processes and giving your staff more time to focus on supporting patient care.

Owens & Minor supply chain experts will work with you to create a plan of action to implement the recommendations in support of your overall goals.

To learn more about the LUM or Expanded Access program, contact your local Owens & Minor representative to get started.

*Results are not guaranteed and will vary depending on the facility goals, savings and solutions implemented.

1. https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/hospital-management-administration/how-hospitals-and-health-systems-are-overcoming-clinical-staffing-challenges-and-improving-culture-in-a-transformative-era.html
2. https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/finance/nearly-half-of-rcm-departments-facing-severe-labor-shortages-report-says.html
3. https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/hit-speaker-series-q-a/turning-challenges-into-opportunities-with-1-healthcare-leader.html
4. https://www.cnbc.com/2022/06/13/worker-shortage-supply-chain-crisis-fuel-2022-top-states-for-business.html
5. https://onlinenursing.duq.edu/post-master-certificates/shortage-of-healthcare-workers/
6. https://www.ache.org/-/media/ache/learning-center/research/2020-ceo-circle-white-paper.pdf
7. HIDA Hospital Procurement Study 2012