Rift Valley Health Company Completes NSF Beat-the-Odds Bootcamp 2022

SBIR Beat-the-Odds Bootcamp for Consumer Validation 

What factors foster rampant burnout in the healthcare industry?This is the question RVHC’s marketing team sought to answer during the NSF-led SBIR  Beat-the-Odds Bootcamp through July and August 2022. Throughout the process, we gained invaluable insight into burnout by listening to first-hand experiences of healthcare workers and the challenges they face.

Burnout and mental health disruption amongst healthcare staff has become a growing concern in recent years. Research suggests that addressing institutional factors, including understaffing, schedule conflicts, equipment malfunction, and retention of experienced staff, is key to reducing the daily pain points that exacerbate burnout.

In our in-depth interview process totaling over 15 hours of face time with nurses, managers, and additional hospital staff, we found these hypothesized problems to be both prevalent and distressing. Our goal was to understand nurses’ recurring pain points further. The feedback we heard from them most frequently included:

  • Feelings of burnout and exhaustion 
  • Feelings of disconnect between nurses and management 
  • Physical health issues resulting from workplace-related mental health disruption 
  • Depersonalization and compassion fatigue 
  • Severe understaffing, leading to poor nurse-to-patient ratios 
  • High turnover rates, leading to a reduction in experienced staff 

From our sample of nurse managers and upper management, key takeaways were: 

  • Difficulty communicating the needs of nurses with higher-up organizational decision-makers 
  • Understaffing and hiring is a primary pain point 
  • Travel staffing helps but is very costly, and minimal training 

Hospitals’ current methodology for obtaining mental health and burnout data on nursing staff is primarily limited to bi-annual or quarterly pulse surveys, resulting in a deficit in usable data and preventing nursing staff from reporting challenges as they occur. In addition, this data deficit makes it challenging for organizational decision-makers to address issues, leading to a significant communication gap that places pressure back on nursing staff. 

RVHC’s Tectonic platform aims to solve this problem via continuous, individualized mental health surveying. By empowering hospital management to identify and solve major pain points before staff leave, patients experience increased risk, or staff suffers psychological and physical health complications.

After completing the Beat the Odds Bootcamp, RVHC seeks to continue our conversation with nurses and learn how to integrate Tectonic within the complex hospital system better. We are applying to participate in NSF I-Corps long-form consumer validation course. Wherein we will interview 100+ nurses, managers, and other critical healthcare staff to continue learning and build long-lasting partnerships with healthcare institutions.