Providing access to primary healthcare services is crucial to improve public health outcomes. Currently, due to a shortage of primary healthcare providers, the quality of patient care is getting affected. The world has already face the challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic, which is a concern for the relevant healthcare authorities. It is essential to consider the shortage of primary healthcare providers to improve healthcare outcomes. With increasing problems and challenges in the healthcare sector, practitioners must be there in the correct quantity to fulfill their duties efficiently.
Every primary care physician is expected to spend around 17 hours every day providing chronic, preventative, and acute healthcare. In reality, it is not possible; that is why the shortage of primary healthcare providers occurs. There is a need for more healthcare providers to deal with this issue. The healthcare sector needs to take the proper steps to address this shortage of primary healthcare providers. It has become one of the significant challenges for the healthcare industry.
Moreover, organizations are offering more incentives to attract individuals to join as general practitioners or nurses to address the shortage of primary healthcare providers. Today, universities and colleges offer more online courses to allow individuals to study from the comfort of their homes. For instance, aspirants can opt for an online nurse practitioner program to get the skills needed to become successful nurses.
Here are some ways that will help to solve the lack of primary healthcare providers.
- Leverage Latest Technology
By adopting the latest technological developments like telemedicine and telehealth, healthcare organizations can enhance access to care and minimize administrative burdens. It will help increase productivity and efficiency as healthcare staff will have to put in less effort, and they will be able to save time. Consumers are now also deeply involved in their health, so they also support such innovative steps. It could be defining moment to handle the shortage of primary care smartly and streamline the healthcare operations.
- Increase Capacity of Practitioners
It is essential to optimize the capacity of every primary care practitioner to reduce the effects of the shortage. It can make a significant impact on practitioners’ ability that will improve the number of their working hours and capacity as well. In this way, practitioners will deal with the patients more efficiently according to their capacity.
Different measures can be taken to improve the capacity of practitioners. For example, follow-up appointments should not be made regularly. It should only be made when required to help practitioners serve somewhere else where their duties are needed more. It should be done without compromising the quality. Another way to improve the capacity of practitioners is to assign administrative responsibilities to the other staff members who can manage these responsibilities more efficiently.
- Optimize Practitioners Geographic Distribution
One of the major causes of the lack of primary healthcare providers is the improper distribution of services. It is essential to deploy primary healthcare providers to the areas suffering from the most need for primary care. In remote or rural areas, people have lacked access to primary healthcare services. One of the major reasons for the shortage of primary healthcare providers is that professionals are not deployed according to the proper geographic distribution.
There should be increased incentives and funding for practitioners who work in underserved areas. It will help to redistribute the entire workforce fairly and positively. Such incentives must address the financial aspects and properly maintain work and life balance, especially in remote areas.
Additionally, more acceptance for students from rural backgrounds should be made into medical colleges and educational institutions. Students who have a rural background also deserve to be in the healthcare setting as much as rural areas. The relevant authorities should make policies to offer scholarships to medical students who can fit into these criteria as it will help fulfill the need of primary healthcare providers.
- Increase Primary Practitioners
Attracting a good number of medical students for primary healthcare can help fill the gap of primary healthcare providers. To do this effectively, authorities can increase the salary of primary care providers. It is also crucial to improve and bring positive changes to the lives of primary care physicians. Healthcare organizations should think about raising funds for primary care training too. Also, increasing training programs for general practitioners help to enhance the number of primary practitioners.
- Have More Nonphysician Medical Providers
By recruiting more physician assistants, healthcare organizations can offer cost-efficient and safer solutions to address the workforce shortage. Nonphysicians have the flexibility to work in different healthcare settings. It means they can fulfill the need of primary healthcare providers by meeting the required criteria. Mostly nonphysicians are known to ensure better satisfaction levels and quality services. It means they can prove to be a valuable addition to the healthcare landscape to fulfill the shortage of primary healthcare providers.
- Licensing Barriers to Physician and Nurses
According to healthcare experts, the process of medical school accreditation is rigorous. To get a physician license, individuals have to graduate from an accredited school. But these certified schools charge high tuition fees that are another issue. Relevant authorities need to create policies that can make it easier for physicians to get a license. The same goes for the nursing sector also. The licensing process should be more straightforward, and the fee structure should be revisited.
Addressing the shortage of primary healthcare providers is the need for time. Healthcare organizations are responsible for taking sound measures to tackle the issue of lack of primary care. From embracing technology to improving the capacity of practitioners, they have to keep an eye on different factors. Also, they need to determine the root causes of the shortage of primary healthcare providers that will help them take the proper steps accordingly. The whole world has gone through the most significant healthcare challenge recently in the form of COVID-19. So, considering such issues in mind, dealing with the shortage of primary healthcare is a must.