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How rural hospitals can become more competitive in the job market

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Healthcare organizations around the world are currently struggling with staffing shortages, but rural hospitals are particularly affected by this ongoing challenge. Only 10% of physicians practice in rural areas and nearly 70% of primary care Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs) are in rural or partially rural areas, according to a recent report from the American Hospital Association.

While there are many factors that contribute to staffing issues, rural hospitals often struggle to offer competitive salaries due to their limited budgets. By their very nature of being located in sparsely populated areas, these organizations have a lower patient volume than hospitals in metro areas, so the opportunity for earning revenue is limited. In addition to this, the patient population in rural areas are often uninsured or rely on government programs like Medicare and Medicaid to cover their healthcare costs. Unfortunately, these programs have a history of underpaying rural hospitals for the care they provide. In fact, the American Hospital Association reports that rural hospitals incurred $5.8B in Medicare underpayments and $1.2B in Medicaid underpayments and provided $4.6B in uncompensated care in 2020.

But what if rural hospitals could create more room in their budget for staff, without compromising funding in other areas? Solutions like Altera Digital Health’s Paragon® aim to help organizations do just that.

Paragon is a comprehensive, integrated acute and ambulatory EHR ideal for rural and community hospitals and single IDNs. It improves clinician satisfaction by delivering clinical information and decision support tools at the point of care. Paragon also provides workflow intelligence guides to help the clinician easily locate relevant patient information, presenting the right information at the right time for greater efficiency and improved care delivery. By making patient care more efficient, Paragon enables organizations to improve patient care and generate more revenue. Paragon also offers Paragon Financial, which helps organizations properly capture reimbursement and generate better financial outcomes. In fact, Paragon Financial has won Best in KLAS for several years in a row.

There are many other strategies that rural hospitals can use to bolster their recruiting efforts, including implementing comprehensive EHR systems like Paragon® that improve clinician satisfaction and efficiency. By using the right tools and resources, rural hospitals can focus on improving overall staff satisfaction and creating a positive work culture. Other options include offering professional development opportunities and investing in the local community to make rural areas more attractive to healthcare professionals. A combination of these approaches can help rural hospitals attract and retain top talent, even in a competitive job market, ultimately leading to better patient care and increased revenue. If you’d like to learn more about our Paragon solution, go here.

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