It’s no secret that healthcare systems are under immense pressure. The shortage of workers coupled with a lack of funds and ageing populations are only a few of the challenges faced.
Now, a new report from Philips puts emphasis on the disparity between the expectations of what they call a younger generation of professionals – those aged under 40 – around the use of digital, data and technology, their jobs and the lived reality.
The Future of Health Index study, released this week, sought to gauge the perceptions of 3,000 professionals in 15 countries, including Romania, Brazil, France, Germany and the UK.
Findings show that around 40% of respondents believe that their careers do not live up to the expectations they had while in school.
The study found that over a third of professionals have considered changing careers due to work-related stress. Nearly 45% believe that their education did not prepare them for business administration tasks, while over 60% say further training to address the issue is not available in their workplace.
“We should be trained for managing patients, teams and business administration, besides clinical aspects of care,” a radiologist from France is quoted as saying.
The report also found that professionals are frustrated with the slow pace of technological change. Nearly 60% say they would benefit from training on using new technologies and over 50% from support for data management and data entry.
Philips chief medical officer Jan Kimpen, warned that healthcare systems could not afford to see these professionals lose their “commitment” or “become disengaged”.
WHY IT MATTERS
With a lot of concerns came also some optimism. The report found that nearly 80% of respondents think digital health technologies are “important” in order to achieve better patient outcomes, and nearly 75% that these would improve the patients’ experiences.
Furthermore, a similar number (nearly 80%) believe that the benefits of improving care from the use of anonymised data outweighed privacy concerns – that number is over 90% in Saudi Arabia and Singapore, and around 60% in the US and France.
Some of the things that could improve their workplace satisfaction include the portability of data between providers, using digital tools to communicate with their colleagues and with patients and augmented or virtual reality.
However, when asked which one would be most beneficial to improve patient care in the next five years, digital health records were at the top of the list – with 42% in France and around 35% in both Germany and Poland.
“Digital health records must be the first thing to be developed because they should be the basis for any other proposed technological developments,” according to an infectious diseases specialist working in France.
And those working in smart facilities tended to be more satisfied with their roles.
“Younger healthcare professionals have a positive yet pragmatic attitude to technology. They acknowledge its potential to ease their administrative workload, resulting in a reduction in work-related stress. And, with almost three-quarters of younger healthcare professionals regularly experiencing work-related stress that could ultimately lead to them leaving the profession, it’s vital that technology is harnessed appropriately,” the report cautions.
But findings show that 83% feel that the decisions of non-medical leaders have a “negative impact” on their satisfaction with the job – and 31% say that is their biggest concern regarding their career. Around half in emerging and over 40% in developed countries believe that decision-making is “too hierarchical”.
“Without a collaborative and empowering workplace culture to underpin uptake, the long-term adoption of digital health technologies will fail,” Philips notes.
ON THE RECORD
“The findings of the Future Health Index 2020 report demonstrate we are at a crucial moment in the journey to the future of healthcare. While change won’t happen overnight, these findings give healthcare leaders serious incentives to tackle some of the pain points they must address today in order to drive successful outcomes down the line,” Kimpen said in a statement.
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