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Healthcare worker shortages: Can technology help weather the storm?

Well before the COVID-19 pandemic, nurses and other healthcare professionals were raising flags about understaffing.

By 2021, 20% of all job vacancies in Canada were in the healthcare and social assistance sectors, with more than 40,000 vacancies between 2019 and 2021.

Not surprisingly, these gaps have led to severe burnout amongst all healthcare professionals, nearly doubling the statistic to more than 60% between 2020 and 2021.

The effects this has had on healthcare delivery across Canada have been immense, seeing the reduction in quality of care, an increase in medical errors, compounded by higher employee turnover.

So, what is being done to assist healthcare workers?

In the face of public pressure, there are efforts underway to address the situation: the federal government is working to modernize the immigration system and to prioritize international students studying high priority subjects, including healthcare. Provincial governments, including Ontario and Alberta are pledging more funds to hire and retain nurses, while others, such as British Columbia are fast-tracking training of health workers and recruiting overseas to fill vacancies, others, including Quebec, are offering retention bonuses. As well, some provinces are working closely with the physician community to reduce their administration burden.

By leveraging technology in the healthcare space, administrative burdens can be reduced, transparency around clinic operations can be increased, and access to public healthcare for all populations (especially the most vulnerable) can be improved.

See how TELUS Health is building on these technologies to improve healthcare across Canada. Read our white paper “Healthcare worker shortages: Can technology help weather the storm?”