Healthcare Trends We’ll Face in 2022

Less than two months stand between us and 2022. We all have our share of challenges now – but as a planner, I like to look ahead to what’s coming. As I’ve been doing some of my own research, I wanted to share my insight with you. Eventually, I hope to provide more insight into each of these trends here on the blog, but for now, I just want to review a list of what I see on the horizon (hint: many of them are familiar).

First of all, let’s take a look at the challenging trends we’ll likely face – many of which apply to other industries, as well.

  • Shifting from a pandemic to endemic state, where we will consistently see single positive COVID cases but fewer outbreaks due to high vaccination rates;
  • Supply chain challenges which will drive increased costs (attempts to fine carriers at ports of entry will fall flat due to the commercial driver shortage and full warehouses);
  • Inflation as too many dollars are chasing too few products (buying Christmas gifts in September wasn’t helping);
  • Labor shortages due to challenges for workers to return to work (childcare, COVID concerns) and the overall improved financial health of many front line workers due to stimulus payments (which lifted 3 million children, or 25% of poor children, out of poverty);
  • Slow recovery of occupancies for institutionally-based care due to COVID concerns;
  • Upskilling of staff to meet more complex challenges in the workplace, including critical thinking, conflict resolution, and team thinking,

Take a deep breath. While the list above may feel heavy, the good news is, some positive trends are coming that can help us. I’ve included insight into those, along with some of my own thoughts and big picture advice on facing these challenging trends below.

Embrace technology and data. The proliferation of the intelligent use of technology and evidence-based decision-making based on real-time data is a primary focus for the foreseeable future.

Automate processes. There are increasing opportunities to automate any process that can reduce manual tasks.

Create meaningful work. Increase employee satisfaction by enabling more meaningful work. Finally, ensuring that we recruit, hire, and retain talent in a highly competitive market will continue to be a challenge for 2022 and beyond.

Build career maps and ladders. Embrace career mapping and the creation of career ladders to persuade new generations of workers (current and prospective) that there is planned growth for their careers, and Diversity Equity and Inclusion focus groups and initiatives on improving employee experience.

Educate managers. A recent study showed that employees don’t leave organizations, they leave managers, so focused attention on managerial excellence is imperative to win in a high-demand, low-supply talent market. Manager training—particularized to the demands of their direct reports—is critical. Managing a remote workforce is a different skill set than managing in person, but all managers will need to think more flexibly to improve the work and life experience of their employees, which is increasingly seen as entwined.

Communicate transparently and honestly. Finally, communication is critical in uncertain times, and leaders who are excellent communicators of mission and meaning will have an advantage.

As time goes on, I look forward to taking this blog on a deeper dive into many of the trends, challenges, and solutions facing the healthcare industry. I hope you’ll join me.