Public social and healthcare providers must be forced to invest in employee wellbeing
by Louise Wahlström
Resources in social and healthcare services are already scarce, and there is pressure to further reduce public spending. For example in Finland, studies show that every other social and healthcare services director feels that cost control is poor or relatively poor. However, there is no easy fix, and any action to remedy the situation will take time.
For now, social and healthcare administrators will have to come to terms with the funding situation as it is and find ways to operate as efficiently as possible. The most important way is to invest in the well-being of employees because a satisfied employee is also an efficient one. The stress caused by excess workloads and minimal control over work management has been on the increase for years in social and healthcare occupations, and the Covid years only made the situation worse. Now is the time to turn the industry around.
Poor personnel well-being weakens the entire social and healthcare system: accessibility, waiting times, quality of care – all of it. And we mustn’t forget that caregivers leaving the industry is adding to the problem.
The most obvious solution lies in technology. It is time to finally start taking digitalization action in a smart way, ensuring that technology is not seen as a burden. On the contrary, technology should be seen as a tool for creating value. However, tools should not be put out to tender or purchased without first considering what kinds of changes we want to see in everyday care work. Instead of focusing on the price tag, we should ensure that factors affecting productivity, quality of care and work satisfaction are in order. When this effect is verified, the actual sum total of the purchase may become completely irrelevant in the big picture.
The social and healthcare decision-makers in charge of purchasing must listen to the employees and give them the power to influence their own work. This way, the industry can adopt tools that create real impacts. Existing technology enables clearing treatment queues in a multi-channel way, higher-quality interaction between patients and social and healthcare professionals, faster care pathways, better resource planning, and generally more efficient ways of working.
I’m sure we all want to ensure high care quality, cost-efficiency, and, above all, the ability of care professionals to cope with work. There is no time to lose in this matter. Therefore, public social and healthcare providers must be forced to invest in the well-being of their employees.
CEO, Aurora Innovation