Hospices Leverage Tech To Combat Staffing Woes

Hospices are beginning to leverage technologies used to identify eligible patients in need to recruit and retain staff amid ongoing workforce shortages.

Systems like artificial intelligence (AI), predictive analytics, and machine learning have helped providers identify eligible patients sooner in their disease process. Hospices are now applying those tools to help relieve industry-wide labor pressures.

Silverado Hospice, for example, plans to use an AI tracking system in its hiring practices in the near future. The move is intended to help identify potential candidates earlier in their career searches in an increasingly competitive labor market, according to April Wilson, Silverado’s vice president of hospice operations.


“With a new AI-powered applicant tracking system rolling out soon, Silverado looks to embrace technology to help us grow as our staffing needs increase,” Wilson told Hospice News. “Recruitment and retention really come down to the ways we offer value to staff. As a company we are embracing technology across the board – not just in human resources – and the new capabilities it can bring. We feel it is important to use resources that enable automation and predictive analytics.”

California-headquartered Silverado offers hospice and palliative care in Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego, and Temecula. The hospice’s footprint also includes Texas, particularly the Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth, and Houston markets.

The company’s locations in Ventura and San Mateo, Calif., were recently acquired by San Diego-based Mission Healthcare for an undisclosed sum.


These technologies can give hospices an edge as they compete with large health systems that can offer higher sign-on bonuses and compensation, according to Wilson.

Moreover, job-seeking clinicians increasingly value the improved efficiencies that these tools can generate.

For instance, predictive analytics can allow clinicians “to work smarter and not harder,” Wilson said. Silverado clinicians are using the systems to identify unmet patient care needs before they reach a crisis point.

Likewise, solutions that can reduce time spent on administrative tasks like documentation allows clinicians to “deliver care to the person, not a keyboard,” Wilson told Hospice News.

“Documentation time was a huge dissatisfier among clinicians. It takes away from providing direct patient care, support, and education,” Wilson said. “They wanted to be out there delivering patient care, so we’re really focusing on as much optimization as we work with our partners within our [electronic medical record] systems, our pharmacy systems, or [durable medical equipment] systems to make it as easy as possible and to have that automation open.”

Silverado Hospice is not the only company with these arrows in their quiver.

Case in point, Enhabit Home Health & Hospice (NYSE: EHAB) is streamlining its onboarding processes with virtual orientations. The company hired 55 full-time nurses during Q3 and achieved a 10% reduction in turnover among those clinicians, inclusive of part-time employees.

The opportunity to bolster its workforce was among the drivers for Amedisys, Inc.’s (NASDAQ: AMED) decision to back connectRN in a series F funding round. The startup’s tech platform helps connect providers with travel nurses who can work across different health care settings..

Among other goals, Amedisys plans to use the platform to better engage the company’s nursing workforce, according to Vice President of Finance Nick Muscato. The home health and hospice provider is currently piloting the connectRN system in its home health segment, with plans to expand into its hospice business.

“If we’re able to get capacity out of that group, that takes a lot of pressure off of the recruiting function by increasing what we’re able to do with the current staff,” Moscato previously told Hospice News.

Atlanta-based Aveanna Healthcare Holdings (NASDAQ: AVAH) also employed technology as it doubled down on recruitment efforts amid growth. The provider offers virtual on-demand training classes for new hires.

The initiative has reduced on-boarding time by 80%, CEO Tony Strange said at the Barclays Global Healthcare Conference in Miami Beach, Fla.

Addus HomeCare Corporation’s (NASDAQ: ADUS) is also leaning on tech to boost staffing. Like many others in the space, the company has seen high turnover rates during the pandemic, and sees technology as a means to ease the pressure.

“We are investing in technology that will help us to further improve our sourcing, hiring and onboarding process to increase our personal care hiring numbers to meet the robust demand of our services,” said Addus CEO Dirk Allison in a recent earnings call.

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