Despite rising supply costs and a tight labor market, healthcare organizations—with hard-won flexibility and agility skills—are poised to address those challenges and capitalize on new opportunities. 

One major opportunity? To leverage technology to improve everything from patient care and operational efficiencies to decision-making and cost reduction. Recognizing the need to adapt to market shifts and quickly implement technology, the industry has become more focused on change management. 

Resiliency will continue to pay dividends as organizations embrace new ways of working spurred by evolving care delivery models and increased focus on simplifying the patient experience. Read on to see the trends shaping the future of healthcare and how leaders can meet the moment.

1. Embracing AI to Ease Administrative Responsibilities and Elevate Patient Care

Healthcare staff shortages across the continuum of care aren’t expected to let up. According to a study from the American Organization for Nursing Leadership Foundation, 12% of nurse leaders say they plan to leave their position within the next six months, and another 23% say they may leave. 

To combat turnover and alleviate burnout, providers will increasingly lean on AI to reduce rote work. A Workday-sponsored IDC survey found that 42% of healthcare workers say they spend a considerable amount of time on daily tasks, such as data entry, that don’t add value. 

Looking ahead, industry leaders see promise in AI for streamlining highly manual tasks, such as:

  • Claims denials
  • Prior authorization
  • Clinician credentialing

“AI and ML help take the clinician’s fingers off the keyboard and allow them to interact more with patients.”

John Kravitz Vice President and Global Head of Healthcare Workday


2. Using Emerging Technology to Help HR Better Manage and Develop the Workforce

By 2030, Deloitte predicts a global healthcare staffing shortfall of 10 million. But the demand for healthcare workers is expected to surge by 29% over the next decade. That’s a two-fold problem that won’t, and can’t, be solved by adding headcount alone. 

To build resilience amid limited resources, healthcare providers in both acute care and ambulatory care settings will rely on AI and machine learning (ML) to analyze employees’ skills, productivity, and aspirations. Then they'll map the results from those analyses to a broader workforce plan. By creating an on-demand view of an organization’s workforce skills and proficiencies, AI and ML can help organizations understand their skills gaps and create a plan for addressing those gaps.

Additionally, AI can track reskilling and internal mobility efforts to create clear career advancement opportunities. This improves an organization's ability to fill roles internally while decreasing turnover. The technology can also be used to examine staffing from a patient data perspective to more accurately pinpoint shifting needs. As Deloitte notes, predictive AI can “forecast patient volumes and help hospitals adjust staffing and resources by predicting future resource needs, analyzing detailed data, and identifying high-impact patterns and trends.”

To successfully integrate generative AI, healthcare CIOs need a modern data infrastructure, high-quality data, and a tech stack that can leverage language models at scale. “Investing in the AI tech stack now will help organizations add more uses for gen AI later,” McKinsey points out. As they consider potential AI use cases, leading organizations will also scrutinize their own systems and embrace true cloud-native platforms with unified data.

By creating an on-demand view of an organization’s workforce skills and proficiencies, AI and ML can help hospitals and other providers better understand their skills gaps.


3. Leveraging Platform Technology to Contain Costs and Focus on Innovation


Healthcare continues to grapple with a serious catch-22. To deliver high-quality care at a lower cost, the industry needs to transform. But transformation requires a lot of resources that many care providers grappling with razor-thin margins simply don’t have. For example, after struggling through financial difficulties, non-profit hospitals will face another challenging year in 2024, according to Fitch Ratings.

To enable innovation, including expansion into home care and potential mergers and acquisitions, healthcare organizations  will increasingly adopt a platform technology approach. The best systems create an integrated view into supply chain, finance, and HR, so leaders can plan and adapt for the future.

Taking this approach helps bust the data silos and sprawling tech stacks that limit access to timely, organization-wide data, which 62% of finance leaders say hampers accurate forecasting, according to a Workday indicator study of healthcare CEOs and CIOs. 

A platform approach is also good for the bottom line. “Moving to a unified platform can save a lot of money in the long-term—not only in terms of the budget saved on the systems, but in terms of the overall costs of the organization,” Workday’s Kravitz explains

Hear how Elevance Health uses real-time data to make better decisions that result in better business outcomes.


AI’s assistance in managing these tasks can save time, reduce frustration, and lessen the impact of workforce shortages both in acute care and outpatient settings. 

The possibilities don’t end there. Generative AI could also help offset the amount of clinical documentation that contributes to employee burnout. McKinsey reports that with human oversight AI could:

  • Generate discharge summaries in a patient’s native language

  • Quickly synthesize care coordination or end-of-shift notes for hospitals and physician groups

  • Create checklists, lab summaries, and clinical orders in real time

And when employees’ administrative workload goes down, the potential for better patient care goes up. “AI and ML can help take the clinician’s fingers off the keyboard and allow them to interact more with patients,” says Workday Vice President and Global Head of Healthcare John Kravitz.

Learn how Workday AI and ML enables the team at CommuniCare to focus more time on patient care.



4. Getting Smarter With Supply Chain Management 

Healthcare’s supply chain challenges are proving to be stubborn. “We thought after coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic that supply chain management would go back to normal,” notes Keith Lohkamp, senior director of industry strategy for healthcare at Workday. “But we’re still seeing significant amounts of backorders and the need for substitutes.” 

A recent survey by Premier, a leading healthcare group purchasing organization, found that more than 75% of industry leaders expect supply chain challenges to worsen or remain the same over the next year. Ongoing supply disruptions, backorders, and product shortages are top concerns. Industry leaders also say these shortages are shifting unpredictably from month to month. 

To bolster supply chain resilience and adaptability, healthcare organizations need to embrace predictive analytics and AI. Supply chain managers will also need to collaborate closely with finance to predict issues and manage costs.

“To deliver on a vision of affordable quality care, we believe that we must simplify the complex that adds cost, that adds inefficiency, that gets in the way of delivering the best care,” says Tina Vatanka Murphy, president and CEO of GHX. “When finance and supply chain come together around these areas, we deliver on our industry’s vision to create a future of affordable quality care for all.” 

But inefficient spreadsheets and disparate systems spread across sprawling departments can challenge this partnership—so healthcare organizations need to increasingly adopt true cloud systems that unify supply chain transactional data and analytics. 

The goal? To offer precise supply chain updates that can be shared with finance colleagues in minutes to drive organizational efficiency and effectiveness.

To learn more about how healthcare leaders are advancing digital acceleration, read our report.

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