The healthcare industry is changing—and fast.

Advances in medicine, new technologies, increased legislation and an aging population have mandated that the industry quickly adapt. In turn, HR departments in healthcare must play a larger role in supporting workers and recruiting new employees to meet evolving needs.

The trend won’t be short lived. In the future, healthcare human resource departments will be busier than ever hiring, training and retaining workers. According to projections by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, healthcare will add more jobs than any other industry through 2026, accounting for about 2.4 million new positions.

Just as the industry is evolving, so is HR technology. The following important trends can help HR professionals meet the needs of a dynamic, modern workforce.

HR Management Systems

Now more than ever, strong recruiting is essential to prevent shortages of essential healthcare personnel. In order to replace retiring employees and fill newly created positions, an additional 203,700 registered nurses will have to be hired each year through 2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Human resource management systems (HRMS) and human resource information systems (HRIS) can help reduce the time—and in turn, money—required to hire and onboard new employees. In addition to recruitment management tools, these software applications offer important features for efficiently managing the data needs of a large, evolving workforce. Common features include:

  • An employee profile database
  • Employee self-service portals
  • Benefits portals
  • Payroll functionality
  • Time and attendance tracking

Document Management Software

Document management is especially difficult in the healthcare industry. With high turnover, large numbers of part-time employees, multiple office locations and complex licensing paperwork, maintaining compliance can be challenging.

In accordance with state and federal privacy laws, employee records must be just as secure as patient health records. Breaches and misuse could lead to identity theft—and costly lawsuits.

When the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center was hacked, the personal information of 62,000 employees was stolen and used to file fraudulent tax returns. Citing insufficient cybersecurity, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court allowed employees to pursue a lawsuit against the medical system.

By controlling who has access to sensitive data, document management systems ensure that employee information is protected at all stages. Built-in tools allow HR managers to stay ahead of compliance requirements, meaning documents are always audit-ready and employee certifications are up to date. These systems complement an organization’s HRMS or HRIS, creating a seamless, secure experience. Good document management software will integrate with your current HRMS or HRIS eliminating the need for double entry and creating efficient workflows.

Cloud Storage Systems

More employees mean more employee documents—which, of course, require storage. Increasingly, healthcare providers are turning to the cloud, found a recent study, with usage expected to triple between 2015 and 2020.

Cloud storage provides a host of benefits for healthcare HR departments:

  • Less paperwork. Digital, cloud-based documents eliminate the need for time-consuming paperwork and clutter.
  • Improved accessibility. When documents are stored in the cloud, they’re easily accessible by HR team members at any location.
  • Improved security. Cloud systems can restrict document access to authorized individuals, ensuring security and compliance.
  • Increased productivity. When documents are stored in a secure, centralized, easily accessible location, HR managers are free to focus on more strategic, high-level projects.

Employee Engagement Tools

Burnout is common in the healthcare industry. A recent survey by CareerBuilder found that 70% of nurses feel burned out, with 54% reporting high stress levels. More than 40% of physicians exhibit at least one symptom of burnout, according to a study by the Mayo Clinic.

Burnout is particularly troublesome in the medical industry. In addition to costly turnover and lost productivity, studies have found that job dissatisfaction and stress can actually compromise patient safety.

Engagement software can help gain valuable insights on company culture and the overall employee experience. After analyzing employee feedback, HR teams can create plans to better support staff, decrease stress, avoid costly turnover and improve patient safety.

Gamification Tools

Gamification has long been used to engage patients. By applying typical elements of game playing—such as point keeping, reward earning and peer competition—the practice can motivate patients to perform physical therapy exercises, follow diet restrictions and adhere to other wellness routines.

However, gamification tools can also be used to engage employees. From employee wellness initiatives to new safety procedures, game-like apps can help HR have meaningful interactions with a large, busy workforce.

Healthcare HR: What’s Next

The healthcare industry is changing at a rapid, unprecedented pace. Just as nurses and doctors feel the pressure, so do healthcare HR professionals.

HR software can alleviate the administrative burden in a meaningful way that saves your organization’s time and money. Learn how to build an airtight business case for HR software by downloading our infographic, Elevate HR with Smarter Employee Document Management.

Andrea Palumbo has over 20 years of experience in the HR and Payroll industry as both an HRIS client and vendor. Her teams are responsible for implementing and maintaining critical HR technology, data and timely processing of payroll for over 1300 employees globally. Andrea’s in-depth knowledge of HR Technology and sensitive employee data allow her to convey the benefits of having a robust HRIS and data management systems working together side by side.