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5 Healthcare Talent Predictions From 2011: Did We Hit the Mark?

January 27, 2016

crystal-ball.jpgWe started this blog in 2011. As we are kicking off 2016, I looked back five years. One of the first things we published in January of 2011:

Would the Repeal of Healthcare Reform Change Your Talent Strategy?

Recall that we were in the early stages of implementation of the Affordable Care Act and within just a few weeks of each other, the House of Representatives voted (for the first of many times) to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the CMS had just published its proposed Value-Based Purchasing rules. There was an irony to the situation: while Congress fought over “Healthcare Reform” – real reform continued, and was going to continue, no matter what happened in D.C. We noted that reform had been underway for several years and would continue because the current situation was, and still is, simply not economically viable.

Some things don’t change, do they? The Senate recently sent to the President, a Bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act, even though we are far into its implementation and while it’s hated by some, many of its provisions, at least individually, are popular with most Americans. Rather than a real discussion about how to continue the evolution and improvement of our health care system, we are still fighting about Obamacare. When’s the last time you heard a substantive, informed and reasonable discussion about the real problems facing our healthcare system, and potential solutions?

Our observations five years ago:

  1. After years of discussing it, we were moving toward a world where payments will be tied to quality. (Definitely well under way.)

  2. Quality and price transparency – Consumers would see what care costs and whether it’s effective. Consumerism was becoming a reality. (Much publicity but not much impact yet.)

  3. To achieve real, lasting cost savings physicians and hospitals must collaborate to reduce waste and improve efficiency. (Well underway and pockets of progress.)

  4. Hospitals will continue to use physician employment as a way to align themselves with the medical staff. A recent survey indicated that well over 90% now employ physicians and intend to add more. This shift has occurred rapidly over just the past two-three years. (And continued!)

What did we see as important for healthcare talent strategists in 2011?

  1. Physician employment. It was clear that the wave of physician employment was not going to subside and that physician employment on a large-scale would bring a whole host of HR issues that most hospitals had not considered (Performance management, ROI, employment law issues). Hospitals need to coordinate the physician workforce through human resources. Physician recruitment and hiring cannot be controlled solely by the VPMA/CMO or executive suite.

  1. Quality and Cost. Even if Accountable Care Organizations were going to be successful in improving quality and reducing waste, we wouldn’t know for several years and the jury is still out. Market demand and new payment methodologies, though, meant that those efforts needed to start in 2011. Those who jumped into these efforts with both feet are now ahead of the game. Those who hesitated are struggling.

  1. Focusing Talent Strategies on New Competencies. Merely competing for bodies with the right credentials to fill vacancies would no longer suffice. Healthcare needed to take its cue from other industries and find ways to build and develop a workforce that can adapt to change, collaborate and innovate on a daily basis.

  1. Thinking like Other Industries. Customer service scores, quality metrics, and processes like “lean” could no longer be just interesting projects – they would mean the difference between success and failure.

  1. Matching Talent to New Care Delivery Methods. We needed to dramatically re-think the way we deliver care and the way we train and develop techs, nurses, support staff and physicians.

Where are we five years later?

  1. As predicted, some providers and hospitals didn’t make the cut. Many physician practices couldn’t adapt. A handful of hospitals have closed. Consolidation continues and organizations are working hard to take a “system” approach to providing care – rather than a disjointed, episodic approach – population health and keeping people healthy is now part of the mission.

  1. Now that health systems have built large networks of providers, they are struggling to manage them. At the recent People in Healthcare Summit in San Diego, a fair amount of the presentations talked about how to develop physician leaders and the challenges presented by having NOT attended to this issue, oh, perhaps five years ago? (Our own Ted Kinney, Ph.D., Director of Research and Development joined Tim McNamara, SVP of Human Resources on the stage at People in Healthcare to talk about moving talent strategies to a place where they can support a high-performance culture.)

  1. Five years ago, the concept of using the talent strategies of a Toyota or Goodyear – focusing on behavioral skills and competencies beyond Joint Commission technical competencies, was a new and crazy – and still dismissed by some, concept. Not now. It’s an imperative. Whether it’s building a more deliberate selection strategy targeting important behavioral competencies, or creating an effective program to identify and develop leaders, these are top priorities for every organization.

In 2011, we were looking at that beginning of a long road. In 2016, some are farther along than others. Most have realized the impact of talent strategies and are seeing the initial rewards. As we think back to the broader issues of reforming our healthcare system, I’m reminded of a blog from last year, when we talked about Michael Dowling, CEO and North Shore Long Island Jewish, and his keynote at the Becker’s Hospital Review event – here’s what we wrote then:

Dowling, in his keynote, noted that much of the conference was about operational strategy – how to form and run an Accountable Care Organization, respond to reimbursement changes, population health, and so on. But, success or failure in this “series of experiments” will depend, to a large degree, on our ability to change the way we think, as an organization, and as an industry, and that means how we think and behave individually. Can we create a culture that overcomes the limitations of the traditions of healthcare, including the tradition of valuing autonomy over collaboration?

I think that last statement sums up where we are. In 2011, we were thinking about the structure and operational functions of our health system. Now we realize that we are in the middle of a “series of experiments” and success or failure will depend, to a large degree, on how we think, how we behave, how we adapt, and how we build a culture around people who can get the job done. We are optimistic, and excited – about what we’ve been able to accomplish with our healthcare partners, and what we see others are doing. It’s been a fun five years and we are ready for the next!

Healthcare Hiring Essentials

Bryan Warren Bryan Warren is the President of J3 Personica, a consulting, assessment, training, and coaching firm, and a guest blogger for PSI. Bryan is an expert in progressive talent strategies, with a particular focus on leader and physician selection and development.