Moving at the Speed of Change – Healthcare Human Capital 2013

In Executive Leadership, Financial, Healthcare, Human Capital Trends, Operational Excellence, Revenue Cycle Management on February 15, 2013 at 9:14 pm

“If the rate of change on the outside exceeds the rate of change on the inside, the end is near.” ― Jack Welch
The current rate of change in healthcare is more rapid and challenging than it has ever been with little slowdown in sight. This pace of change is similar to what general business faced in the late 1990’s and the defense industry in the 2000’s resulting in many books focused on change and a total paradigm shift in our country’s military strategy. At the recent National Health Policy Conference held in Washington, D.C. Health and Human Secretary Kathleen Sebelius challenged attendees to “get in the game” in regards to change.
Healthcare Executives are faced with a sweeping transformation of their industry; including but not limited to:
• Information Technology issues – Meaningful Use, EHR enhancements or implementation, Information Exchange, ICD-10 Assessment and Implementation, Mobile Health, Outdated systems, Big Data, etc.
• Operational and Quality issues – Readmissions reduction, patient safety and care, pay for performance, lean initiatives to reduce cost, ACO’s and coordination of care execution, etc.
• Financial issues – Reduction in reimbursements, increased spending to support infrastructure, increased costs of Healthcare Human Capital and benefit expense, etc.
The rate of Healthcare change is not going to slow down; competition will only increase at a more rapid pace; and the exponential “X” factor of the enormous demand brought on by the baby boom generation will create the largest healthcare human capital shortage of our lifetime.
This is why with the rapid push to accelerate change leaders must assist their organization by setting new paths and shifting paradigms.
“One of the big challenges for leaders anywhere is that we cannot push change onto organizations faster than they can absorb them. Yes, the organizational capacity for change can be managed, but at some point it has to work with the flow in the organization.” – Daryl Conner Managing at the Speed of Change
Healthcare Executives can help accelerate change in their organization when they recognize the following: People are the most effective and efficient when we they are given clear expectations of the change (even if outcomes are unclear); they are given proper resources, and they are not over burdened to allow them to move at a speed to assist in assimilating the changes. Since the changes facing the Healthcare industry are mainly regulatory and external, giving clear direction can at times be challenging. The other key elements for accelerating change can be accomplished by creating strategic partnerships with organizations that can assist in the ongoing change. Retention and Engagement will be more critical than ever for Healthcare organizations as will the need to develop a Contingent Workforce plan. Retention and engagement can be handled internally with the right focus and tools. Dick Finnegan, CEO of C-Suite Analytics, speaker, and author of Rethinking Retention, says that leaders need to understand that rapid change can create disengagement in employees and increased competition can take away people.
“The challenges that we face today is the global shortage of healthcare professionals as baby boomers and patients begin to out-number qualified professionals.” – Dick Finnegan
Developing a Contingent Workforce is best handled externally by companies who have the resources to assist the many changes brought on by new technologies and regulations. This can be challenging while many organizations move to cost cutting VMS systems that do great for commodity items like surgical supplies or equipment – but fall well short in regards to people. The scarcity of qualified human capital will require organizations to move much faster and rely upon organizations that supply specialized talent and can meet HIPAA and Affordable Care Act compliance. General industry companies have developed strong contingent workforce plans using companies such as Kforce and others to assist in projects, spikes in business, specialized talent needs, and to reduce overall FTE burdens as recruitment and benefit costs have skyrocketed. Healthcare organizations will need to follow the advice of Secretary Sebelius and “get in the game” by changing internal paradigms and by partnering with firms they can trust to meet critical demands.

  1. I think the personnel shortage is going to be a much worse issue than IT problems. The more professionals we get in medical fields, whether it’s a doctor or someone with EKG tech training, the better the quality of life for Americans will be.

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