The Benefits of Hybrid Work Models in Healthcare
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Healthcare managers are hesitant to consider allowing your employees to work remotely or in a hybrid work model. After all, in-person medical exams and consultations are the core of their business, right? However, the pandemic has proven that remote work is not only possible, but it can also be highly beneficial for medical practices. In fact, 83% of practices that adopted a hybrid or remote working model during the pandemic have no plans to stop anytime soon.
That’s according to a recent survey of 150 healthcare providers using hybrid or remote work models. By leveraging the advantages of both in-person and remote work, you can deliver high-quality care to your patients while promoting the wellbeing of your employees. Having helped 22 organizations, including several in healthcare, adopt successful hybrid work arrangements, I see hybrid work as a major competitive advantage for healthcare organization
Increased Productivity and Revenue
According to the survey, 56% of practices saw increased productivity after implementing a hybrid or remote working model. This extra output of employees enables practices to increase their patient load, with 61% of practices able to see an increased number of patients. Additionally, 39% of practices experienced an increase in revenue.
Some may argue that it’s difficult to perform medical examinations and consultations remotely, but with the development of telemedicine tools, remote medical employees can now provide high-quality care to patients. Hybrid work allows for greater flexibility in scheduling, which can reduce employee burnout and improve morale, ultimately leading to increased productivity and revenue.
Boosted Employee Morale
The survey found that 89% of practices said employees feel positively about working remotely some or all of the time, and 86% of practices that offer flexible work hours due to a hybrid or remote work environment say employee morale has improved. By allowing employees some control over their own schedules, employers can make major headway in improving the working experience of their staff and keeping them happy.
Record-high turnover rates are a major challenge for healthcare organizations. By embracing a hybrid or remote work model, you can improve employee retention and reduce the cost and stress of constantly recruiting and training new staff members.
Logistics of Setting Up a Hybrid Medical Practice
The logistics of setting up a hybrid work environment for a healthcare facility can be tricky. However, 51% of these small practices spent less than $5,000 setting up their hybrid or remote practice, with the most common related purchases being telemedicine software (77%) and teleconferencing hardware (74%).
A good place to start when setting up a hybrid medical office is by determining which auxiliary tools you should purchase to support your remote medical services. A telemedicine platform was the top purchase for most practices when transitioning to remote work, but it was closely followed by HIPAA-compliant video conferencing hardware such as laptops, tablets, or phones.
It’s also important to remember that every practice is unique, and there are plenty of telemedicine platforms designed to fit a variety of budgets. When transitioning to a hybrid or remote work model, take the time to assess your telemedicine setup and compare options to make sure you’re using the best possible system.
Who Can Work Remotely?
You may be surprised by the positions that can be enabled to work remotely some of the time. Sixty-nine percent of surveyed practices allow their physicians or licensed providers to work remotely some or all of the time, and at least a third let nurses do the same.
The survey also found that employees spend an average of 26 hours working in the office and 14 hours working remotely in a given 40-hour work week. This flexibility allows for a better work-life balance and can lead to increased employee morale and productivity.
Cognitive Biases and Hybrid Work in Healthcare
While there are many benefits to hybrid work models in healthcare, cognitive biases can still play a significant role in decision-making, hindering the adoption of hybrid work models. Let's take a closer look at two specific biases that can impact healthcare managers' decisions to adopt hybrid work models: confirmation bias and loss aversion.
Confirmation bias is the tendency to search for, interpret, and remember information in a way that confirms one's preexisting beliefs or values. Healthcare managers who are hesitant to embrace hybrid work models may be experiencing confirmation bias. They may hold the belief that in-person medical exams and consultations are the only way to provide high-quality care to patients, and may be seeking information that supports this belief, while ignoring the benefits of hybrid work models.
For example, a healthcare manager who believes that telemedicine cannot provide the same quality of care as an in-person consultation may only seek out studies or anecdotal evidence that supports this view. This confirmation bias can hinder the adoption of hybrid work models, despite the benefits that have been demonstrated through research and practical experience.
Loss aversion is the tendency to prefer avoiding losses to acquiring equivalent gains. Healthcare managers who are hesitant to embrace hybrid work models may be experiencing loss aversion. They may fear that adopting hybrid work models will result in a loss of control, a loss of quality of care, or a loss of revenue.
For example, a healthcare manager who fears a loss of control may resist allowing employees to work remotely, as they feel they are unable to effectively manage their team from a distance. This loss aversion can prevent managers from embracing hybrid work models, despite the benefits that have been demonstrated in research and practical experience.
Embrace Hybrid Work for Your Practice
The pandemic has forced many medical practices to try out hybrid or remote work models, but the benefits are clear. Increased productivity, more patients, increased revenue, and boosted employee morale are all measurable benefits of a hybrid or remote work model.
By leveraging the advantages of both in-person and remote work, you can deliver high-quality care to your patients while promoting the wellbeing of your employees. It’s worth taking the time to assess your telemedicine setup and compare options to make sure you’re using the best possible system.
If your practice isn't already hybrid, it should be. By embracing a hybrid or remote work model, you can not only improve the efficiency and financial health of your practice but also the quality of life for your employees.
Hybrid work can improve productivity, revenue, and employee morale in healthcare organizations, with telemedicine tools enabling remote consultations. However, cognitive biases like confirmation bias and loss aversion can hinder adoption...>Click to tweet
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Lauded as “Office Whisperer” and “Hybrid Expert” by The New York Times, Dr. Gleb Tsipursky helps leaders use hybrid work to improve retention and productivity while cutting costs. He serves as the CEO of the boutique future-of-work consultancy Disaster Avoidance Experts. Dr. Gleb wrote the first book on returning to the office and leading hybrid teams after the pandemic, his best-seller Returning to the Office and Leading Hybrid and Remote Teams: A Manual on Benchmarking to Best Practices for Competitive Advantage (Intentional Insights, 2021). He authored seven books in total, and is best know for his global bestseller, Never Go With Your Gut: How Pioneering Leaders Make the Best Decisions and Avoid Business Disasters (Career Press, 2019). His cutting-edge thought leadership was featured in over 650 articles and 550 interviews in Harvard Business Review, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, USA Today, CBS News, Fox News, Time, Business Insider, Fortune, and elsewhere. His writing was translated into Chinese, Korean, German, Russian, Polish, Spanish, French, and other languages. His expertise comes from over 20 years of consulting, coaching, and speaking and training for Fortune 500 companies from Aflac to Xerox. It also comes from over 15 years in academia as a behavioral scientist, with 8 years as a lecturer at UNC-Chapel Hill and 7 years as a professor at Ohio State. A proud Ukrainian American, Dr. Gleb lives in Columbus, Ohio. In his free time, he makes sure to spend abundant quality time with his wife to avoid his personal life turning into a disaster. Contact him at Gleb[at]DisasterAvoidanceExperts[dot]com, follow him on LinkedIn @dr-gleb-tsipursky, Twitter @gleb_tsipursky, Instagram @dr_gleb_tsipursky, Facebook @DrGlebTsipursky, Medium @dr_gleb_tsipursky, YouTube, and RSS, and get a free copy of the Assessment on Dangerous Judgment Errors in the Workplace by signing up for the free Wise Decision Maker Course at https://disasteravoidanceexperts.com/newsletter/.
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