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Are Allied Health Professionals the Answer to Healthcare Staffing Shortages?

Darian Khalilpour
Author: Darian Khalilpour
Date: December 12, 2023
Tags: Allied Health, Allied Health Professionals, Healthcare, Healthcare Staffing

Healthcare facilities throughout the country are experiencing unprecedented staffing shortages. A recent study found that the U.S. needs an additional 17 thousand primary care practitioners, 12 thousand dental health practitioners, and more than 8 thousand mental health providers. But adequate healthcare staffing is essential. When healthcare facilities are fully staffed, this greatly decreases the length of patient stays, reduces mortality rates, and limits preventable patient issues such as infections. So, what’s the solution? Allied health professionals may be one of the answers to solving it.

Allied health professionals (AHPs) are professionals who provide a wide range of diagnostic, technical, therapeutic, and support services in healthcare. Examples of AHPs include: respiratory therapists, physical therapists, CT technologists, ultrasound technician, paramedics, and more. If your healthcare organization is experiencing staffing shortages, here are 5 reasons to consider hiring more allied health professionals:

  1. They can fill staffing vacancies. AHPs have specialized education and training that allows them to step in and fill critical gaps in many different areas of the healthcare industry. Whether you have a shortage of occupational therapists, physical therapists, or respiratory therapists, AHPs can perform various tasks and procedures to ensure patients receive the quality care they need.
  2. They can help improve patient care. Maintaining staffing stability is extremely important for hospitals to provide uninterrupted patient care. The proactive involvement of AHPs is an essential component of a patient-centered care approach — patient-centered care reduces unnecessary procedures, honors patient preferences, and improves patient health. AHPs collaborate closely with other healthcare providers to address the physical, emotional, and social needs of patients, resulting in well-rounded care and reducing the risk of preventable issues.
  3. They have skill versatility. Many AHPs have versatile skillsets. AHPs often serve as liaisons between patients and primary care providers, ensuring a seamless coordination of services. This versatility is especially valuable when healthcare practices are experiencing shortages.
  4. AHPs may help relieve your team’s workload and preventing burnout. Nearly half of all health care professionals report experiencing symptoms of burnout. AHPs alleviate the workload of doctors and nurses by assisting with routine tasks and specialized procedures. This not only reduces stress on the existing staff and prevents burnout but also allows physicians and nurses to focus on more complex cases and provide more personalized patient care.
  5. Facility telehealth availability could expand with more AHPs on staff. With the recent rise of telehealth services, AHPs can provide virtual care and consultations, creating greater accessibility for rural and underserved populations. Telehealth can also prevent and reduce emergency room visits, leaving staff available to prioritize the patients who are most in need.

Are you experiencing a staffing shortage at your healthcare facility? Explore how Amergis Healthcare Staffing can help you find qualified allied health professionals to fill staff shortages quickly.

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