We have an epidemic. While a nursing shortage grows more pressing, healthcare organizations have clinicians completing tasks that can be described as administrative or near-clinical. It’s time for clinicians to practice at the peak of their license and education.

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) report, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health advises that healthcare teams “…need to make the best use of each member’s education, skill, and expertise, and health professionals need to practice to the full extent of their license and education.”

This IOM report was published in 2011 when full extent of a license meant delegating tasks to “front-line caregivers… nursing assistants and community health workers…” and the IOM blissfully declared “technology needs to facilitate seamless care… centered on the patient, rather than taking time away from patient care.”

In the near decade since, the IOM in retrospect did not address the consumption of a significant portion of healthcare professional time – the utilization of registered nurses, pharmacists, physicians, and other professionals whose working days are defined by remotely completing tasks, without any direct patient engagement.

The ever-increasing opportunity to work remotely is paradoxically limiting practice to the full extent of license and education.

These clinical and near-clinical roles are significant to the healthcare economy and deliver positive clinical and financial outcomes for the patient. Aspects of these tasks are administrative in nature yet remain beyond the capacity of laypeople to complete.

Further, clinical decision-making performed remotely may also contain upstream and/or downstream actions that are expressly below the scope of state practice acts. Completion of these “desktop” workflows means a nurse (or other clinician) is not practicing to the full extent of their license.

One way to enable clinicians practicing at the peak of a license is to analyze non-bedside and non-telemedicine workflows currently tasked to your clinicians. Analyzing workflows helps determine which tasks are causing backlog and strain to a clinician. Once identified, those tasks can be more efficiently managed from secure, remote delivery centers designed to take the burden away from onsite clinicians.

Because of the nursing shortage, clinicians are getting harder to recruit and retain – even for non-bedside positions. Rather than facilitate the relocation of clinical talent to call centers or work-from-home arrangements, the healthcare economy is now realizing that outsourcing near-clinical, administrative tasks that can be done remotely is much more efficient.

This model creates substantial cost savings, labor efficiency, and the preservation of onsite clinicians practicing at the peak of their license leading to less burnout and higher job satisfaction. Your clinicians deserve the best work environment and removing the administrative, near-clinical functions from their work could be the missing solution.

Shearwater has successfully mobilized over 3,000 clinicians to blend with healthcare partners and technology-enabled solutions through our Clinical Process Outsourcing (CPO®) delivery centers and onsite nurse placement.

Together, Shearwater Clinicians are expanding the size and impact of clinical teams in the U.S. and improving healthcare outcomes globally.

If you’d like a consultation to discuss the workflows straining your clinicians, let us know here.

Ted Merhoff
Chief Strategy Officer