The Indian healthcare Industry is pegged at USD 240 Billion and growing at a 22 percent per annum. Although the industry is growing fast, the supply of suitable manpower for the industry has not kept up the pace. There are challenges that the Industry faces on various counts. Rural India is where 70 percent of the population of the country lives and it rural side which is emerging as the place where healthcare is demanded more. This is putting additional pressure on the management of the hospitals as there are shortages of well trained and qualified staff in the countryside.
The human resource managers in hospitals are faced with everyday challenges of hiring and then deploying the right kind of staff in hospitals without compromising on the patient care offered by them.
The manpower shortage in the healthcare industry has many facets. Fortunately, none is insurmountable. Some of the aspects of the HR challenges are listed below:
Paucity of Doctors, Nurses & Administrative Staff
One of the biggest challenges faced by the healthcare industry in general and private hospitals, in particular, is of manpower shortage. There is a sheer dearth of people who have the requisite skills required by the hospitals. The shortage is most highly felt for doctors, nurses and, to some extent, other paramedical staff also. There are a number medical schools but the course content in these schools is not so much in sync with what the industry requires. Hence the hospitals have to re-skill the doctors by providing relevant training. Pulling the doctors often from work for training is a sizeable challenge that the human resources manager of a hospital has to grapple with. Similarly, the nurses need to be trained and taught new or supplementary skill sets. There are significant time and costs involved in conducting these training.
Sky High Attrition Rate
If the problem of shortage of manpower is bad, the phenomenon of attrition makes it worse. There is sky high attrition in the industry, particularly of doctors and nurses. There are a number of career avenues open to these two professionals in today’s world and they are exercising them more than ever before, including opting to work abroad. This has taken the attrition rate to about 40 percent for these two types of manpower, one of the highest in any industry in the country.
Lack of Openness to Digitalization
Another challenge faced by the industry is lack of openness for digitalization among the hospital staff. Work cultures are fast becoming digital and hospitals need to be one step ahead in the process of digitalization so as to provide better treatment and services to the patients. In the drive for digitalization, the management faces some resistance from doctors who may be too used to working in their own way and show lack of interest in learning the new digital tools.
Soft skill and patient interface training deficit
The management is also faced with the challenge of lack of soft skills among the hospital staff who may not be groomed so much in their colleges or institutes. The hospital has to arrange for training on various aspects like how to handle the patient with care, how to deal with irate relatives of patients and other associated aspects. The staff has to be groomed to be really courteous to the patients. These trainings are especially relevant for nurses and administrative staff of private hospitals. Specific course modules need to be devised for them.
Relocation and Working in Tier 2 and Tier 3 Cities
For hospitals chains that are well spread out in various cities, including tier 2 and tier 3 cities, the challenge to depute well-qualified staff, particularly doctors, in smaller cities is a major challenge. The doctors want to stay in metros for various reasons like education of their children etc. Relocating them to any of tier 2 or tier 3 city is always a challenge and finding the right talent for hospitals in those cities is not easy either.