Implementation of Remote Work Policy in a Healthcare Organization

Healthcare organizations in the United States face many challenges associated with understaffing, nursing shortages, and burnout (Drennan & Ross, 2019). Therefore, there is a growing need for implementing a remote work policy in a healthcare organization. The issue became especially relevant after COVID-19, where remote work implementation strategies were tested in many organizations. Traditionally, most healthcare staff have worked on-site at medical facilities, but advancements in technology and shifting employee preferences have highlighted the benefits of remote work. Hence, the paper will propose a change project, analyze problems that will be resolved, and identify both internal and external stakeholders that could impact the project and the way that could provide positive and negative effects on the remote work implementation.
The lack of a remote work policy poses a threat to healthcare organizations which may face low employee retention rates, understaffing, and shortages (Drennan & Ross, 2019). Moreover, the pressure of overtime long hours on-site often leads to burnout, which leads to mental health adversities of workers and low productivity of their work (Adnan Bataineh, 2019). Therefore, there is a vicious cycle of difficulties in recruiting and retaining healthcare professionals, negatively impacting the quality of healthcare provided. Work-life balance is one of the ways to break the cycle and safeguard healthcare workers from burnout, and it can be achieved by providing a more flexible option where remote work is possible (Adnan Bataineh, 2019).
Therefore, the change project aims to create a remote work policy allowing healthcare workers, including administrative personnel and certain clinical roles, to provide service outside the hospital or office. Aspects such as eligibility criteria for remote work, key performance indicators, and communication and data security protocols, along with technology requirements, should be addressed within a proposal. The need for such a policy is explained by the following factors: employee expectations of their work-life balance, talent attraction and retention, cost savings, and business continuity, as the COVID-19 pandemic has shown that the strategies for switching businesses to the remote-based regime are essential and can be needed in the future.
The change project of implementation of remote work policy will involve several internal and external stakeholders. Among the internal stakeholders, healthcare employees are one of the most affected by the change policy. Clinical staff, such as nurses and doctors, may or may not be suited for remote work as their service is mostly needed on-site. Yet, non-clinical personnel are more likely to be eligible for remote work. Remote work may create an unusual setting for healthcare facilities, causing workers on-site to adapt to new realities, which may be negative. On the other hand, remote workers may be more effective and perform better as they have a better work-life balance, which is a positive contribution (Adnan Bataineh, 2019).
Implementing the remote-work policy would be impossible without managers and leadership teams who would oversee and support the change. For effective positive contribution, they should be informed of the implementation strategy and its stages while given the powers to affect the process (Shimura et al., 2021). In other cases, managers who do not have the proper vision of the remote-work policy may disrupt it due to a lack of understanding. Finally, the internal stakeholders essential for the remote-work implementation policy are the IT and Information Security teams, as they would provide a technological foundation for realizing this change. They are responsible for setting up and maintaining the necessary technology infrastructure to support remote work securely. Data security and compliance with healthcare regulations are paramount, especially when employees handle sensitive patient information from remote locations. Therefore, teams who are trusted professionals would have a major positive impact on the implementation of the policy, while unprofessional teams who would allow bugs and errors would create a negative impression of the change policy.
In terms of external stakeholders, patients of the healthcare facilities and their families are the most important ones. The remote-work policy will impact patient care, communication with healthcare providers, and overall patient experience. If seamless care coordination is ensured, a positive patient experience will positively impact the remote-work implementation process (Shimura et al., 2021). However, disruptions due to the remoteness of the service could lead to the policy’s failure.
To implement a new policy, the healthcare organization must work closely with regulatory bodies such as state and federal health agencies. If the policy is designed well, these organizations will approve it and provide consultations and support in the process, which is positive. However, it is in their power to disapprove the policy if the guidelines and regulations that healthcare organizations must adhere to are not followed. Nevertheless, all the regulations designed by these organizations aim to ensure patient safety, data protection, and adherence to healthcare standards.
Finally, insurance companies and payers are external stakeholders interested in the healthcare organization’s remote work policy. They may assess how remote work impacts patient outcomes, healthcare costs, and reimbursement processes. Collaborating with these stakeholders and providing data on the policy’s impact can be essential for reimbursement negotiations and maintaining positive relationships.
Implementing a remote work policy in healthcare organizations is crucial to address staffing challenges and burnout. The change project aims to create a policy for healthcare employees to work outside the facility, enhancing work-life balance and attracting top talent. Internal stakeholders’ support, including employees, managers, and IT teams, is vital for effective implementation. Patients’ positive experience and regulatory approval play significant roles in success. Collaboration with insurance companies ensures financial stability. Overall, the remote work policy offers a solution to workforce issues and improves patient care, making it essential for the organization’s sustainability and success. 
Adnan Bataineh, K. (2019). Impact of work-life balance, happiness at work, on employee performance. International Business Research, 12(2), 99–112.
Drennan, V. M., & Ross, F. (2019). Global nurse shortages: The facts, the impact and action for change. British Medical Bulletin, 130(1), 25–37.
Shimura, A., Yokoi, K., Ishibashi, Y., Akatsuka, Y., & Inoue, T. (2021). Remote work decreases psychological and physical stress responses, but full-remote work increases presenteeism. Frontiers in Psychology, 12, Article 730969.

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