In this piece, originally published June 2021, Lavanya Bhamidipati explains why she is keeping a close eye on workforce productivity.
Workforce wellbeing and productivity are a huge issue. Health systems across the world were strained prior to the pandemic. Now, they’re under pressure like never before. In the NHS, for example, NHS staff are suffering ’emergency levels’ of burnout and 1 in 5 are on course to quit their jobs after more than a year of battling waves of Covid-19. Healthcare staff that remain are disaffected, frustrated and prevented from being truly efficient by clunky, outdated systems.
Technology and innovation which makes being a healthcare professional easier, more fulfilling, and more productive will therefore prove critical in reversing these trends. We’re hugely excited about companies leading the charge in this space.
One of the central issues for clinicians and support staff is that there’s too much work and not enough people to deliver it. At the same time, a lot of hours are wasted on non-clinical but essential administrative work that doesn’t directly impact patient incomes and can be boring and unfulfilling for the clinician.
Technology which can alleviate elements of this burden, and speed up others, are much needed. Our portfolio company, Suki, for example, provides an AI-powered assistant which can reduce a doctor’s time spent on documentation by 76%. That’s a huge amount of time freed up to focus on patients.
Similarly, another start-up we’re proud to back is Luma Health. Their technology automates patient communication: everything from scheduling appointments, handling cancellations, and collecting feedback. This lifts a huge administrative burden off the shoulders of healthcare teams, reducing friction and eliminating a range of niggling tasks that impact morale and efficiency.
The cumulative impact of growing demand and dwindling supply is mental health pressures, burnout, and poor staff retention. Other start-ups are moving into this space to help. Laudio, who you’ll also find in our portfolio, has created a performance management platform that provides healthcare organisations with a simple, automated approach for personalized engagement between managers and their team members. This means staff can be better supported in real time, with issues spotted early and tackled head-on, before they lead to burnout.
Healthcare is a complex space, with regulatory, privacy and safety concerns slowing down the pace of innovation. But we’re now at an inflection point. New tools are coming on stream and being adopted faster than ever before. At InHealth Ventures, we believe workforce productivity is already on track to be a huge growth area in this sector and it’s one we’re watching very closely.
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