In any healthcare system, human resources constitute one of the three major inputs – the other two being consumables and capital. As the needs of a healthcare system changes, an HR department must make updates to its systems, activities, and practices to ensure that patient outcomes are met.
The healthcare sector has seen tremendous changes in the decade that has just ended. At the onset of the last decade in 2010, the Affordable Care Act brought about fundamental shifts that affected almost all healthcare settings in the United States.
Other major changes in the last decade were in evaluating patient experience, healthcare technologies, payment processing, healthcare analytics, electronic health records, and telemedicine, among others.
As we usher in a new decade, more changes are likely to occur in the healthcare sector. HR departments should, therefore, be ready to meet the changing expectations that will come with these changes. Below are the key updates healthcare HR departments should make in 2020…
Bring in Strategic Managers with Change Management Experience
In the new healthcare dispensation where change is a constant feature and not a surprise event, healthcare settings must take an active role in shaping how the changes in their organizations unfold.
Having strategic managers with change management experience in an organization can be a tremendous advantage. These leaders can lead the conversation about change in the healthcare setting, lead multi-disciplinary efforts to respond to changing operational demands, and develop policies that support change.
Further, such leaders will be able to spot the opportunities that come about due to changes in both the internal and external environments. A dynamic healthcare organization can take advantage of these emergent opportunities to meet its goals.
Focus on Employee Welfare to Reduce Turnover
One of the major problems healthcare organizations faced in the decade that has just ended is a sharp uptick in employee turnover. In fact, between 2014 and 2018, the average hospital saw a turnover of 87.8% of its workforce.
Since this reality is trending upwards, HR departments have to develop strategies to halt or reverse the trend. There are a number of things within a healthcare organization’s control that it can do to reduce employee turnover. They include:
- Hiring the right healthcare workers whose goals align with the direction the healthcare organization is going.
- Encouraging workers to share their goals so that the operations of the organization can be aligned with the changing needs of human resources.
- Having a good reward system for effort, loyalty, and the meeting of patient and organizational outcomes.
- Developing competitive employee development programs.
Balance Human Capital with the Realities of Globalization
Globalization is one of the most powerful factors shaping how business is done around the world. Global advances being made in healthcare are going to give patients more options in drug access and hospital services.
To take advantage of the realities of globalization, a healthcare system should be able to integrate and collaborate with other systems across borders. HR departments can work to make this possible by hiring talent that can roll out complex integrative systems and operational procedures that allow seamless multidisciplinary collaboration.
Also, HR departments should ensure that their staff is ready and well-equipped to learn from their global colleagues. Healthcare settings around the world now have a lot of things in common but there are context-specific competitive advantages that can be modeled to improve quality of care across the board.
Update Job Descriptions to Reflect the Changing Healthcare Setting
The employee onboarding process usually includes them signing a job description that covers what their obligations and responsibilities are within the organization. Given the changes that have taken place in the past decade, your current job descriptions are probably outdated.
Since job descriptions are important in setting expectations and in evaluating employee performance, you should consider updating job descriptions to match the current demands of your healthcare setting.
Update Performance Evaluation Procedures
There has been a growing push towards patient-centered services in most healthcare settings. While most healthcare organizations are now evaluated using patient-centered metrics such as patient satisfaction, individual physicians may not be evaluated based on these metrics in some organizations.
According to the Institute of Medicine, there are six patient-centered outcomes that are required for quality healthcare:
- Ensuring safety to avoid causing harm to patients.
- Providing care that is respectful to the needs, values, and concerns of patients.
- Providing service in a timely manner.
- Being effective by providing services grounded on sound scientific knowledge.
- Being efficient by avoiding waste of resources and services.
- Ensuring equity regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, or any other characteristic.
If your organization hasn’t made the shift to evaluating the performance of individual physicians based on patient-centered metrics, you have to make the shift in 2020. This process will require you to:
- Identify the patient-centered metrics the organization should track.
- Identify how patient-clinician interactions can be best assessed.
- Figure out how to incorporate patients’ feedback in the organization’s evaluation of its clinicians.
- Figure out how the various patient-centered metrics should be weighted.