After more than 30 years in health care, I heard this term for the first time at the onset of the pandemic. Even before we referred to health care workers as essential, they always were—and will continue to be—a societal imperative.
Today, we're facing a national crisis when it comes to the shortage of nurses and specialty clinicians. The pandemic has only accelerated burnout rates among these professionals who are already battling long hours and high stress within ever-changing environments.
A recent study by the American Hospital Association found that 200,000 nurses per year will need to be hired to meet increased demand and to replace retiring nurses. Now, more than ever, we must invest in attracting and retaining great talent for patient care.
Nurses are the backbone to the success of the new vision for health care that companies, investors and the government are building.
For DaVita Integrated Kidney Care (IKC), we're working to transform the traditional fee-for-service care paradigm to one that focuses on value over volume. Fortunately, this new vision of value-based care also seeks to create solutions for these essential, clinical workers. Often when talking about value-based care, we hear about the "Triple Aim of Healthcare"—the idea that new models of care can help us improve clinical outcomes, enhance patient experience and reduce health care costs. However, as we think about what we need to succeed in these new economic models, let's expand our thinking to a Quadruple Aim of Healthcare, adding the goal to reduce clinical burnout for nurses and clinicians.
Innovation's role in clinical care
Success in new economic models requires health care professionals to rethink their models of care, and innovation is key to improve efficacy and efficiency. Addressing the complexities of whole-patient care requires new skills from clinicians, which can be challenging for nurses who already feel stretched.
Fortunately, the health care community is already seeking ways to better address this issue. In fact, the desire to address the challenges facing our health care system has never been greater. According to a report from StartUp Health on the third quarter of 2021, a total of $9.7 billion in health innovation funding was tracked globally. That brings the year's total to more than $30 billion, the highest year on record.
This level of investment speaks to our commitment to bridging gaps and finding the right solutions, including digital health innovations, technology platforms and data-driven solutions. While these new tools and developments will never replace clinical decision making, they can help better inform and drive interventions and care, potentially reducing stress for nurses.
Addressing burnout and inspiring confidence through training
Health care providers and teams may help reduce burnout by making sure teams are properly staffed while prioritizing training and education. Research published in JAMA Network shared how proper staffing and training helps mitigate burnout and improve personal satisfaction in the workplace for health care workers.
In addition to investing in the tools, capabilities, technology and new care models needed for patient-centered care, DaVita IKC is working to grow our team of 18,000 nephrology nurses in 2022.
Our strategic imperative
Not every American will choose a career in health care. It's a field that requires tremendous passion, empathy and technical training. Investing in these roles, whether it's providing innovative tools to help inform decisions or reviewing training and education, is a strategic imperative to deliver on the future of value-based care. An investment in nursing career success is an investment in transforming health care. DaVita offers programs and benefits for personal and professional development for our teammates from the moment they're hired to when they choose to retire. Our goal is to invest in and empower nurses to build a career that honors their commitment to the field and the patients they serve.
Payors and providers alike have the power to fuel the investments and transformations and bridge the current gaps. While the COVID-19 pandemic has presented the health care community with staffing challenges, it's also inspired many people to rethink their careers. In August 2021, 4.3 million people were introduced into the job market, the largest surge in workforce talent to exist in American history. My hope is that many will find a new career path in health care, and that they'll be met with the training and resources to feel confident and fulfilled.
Now is the time to ensure a career in health care remains a destination of choice for new candidates. Capturing these new, passion-driven individuals will enable us to realize the future of value-based care.
We can't succeed, as a society or as health care providers, without nurses. They are essential, and our investment in their success will reflect that.
For more information on DaVita Integrated Kidney Care, visit DaVita.com