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Current Trends Impacting Talent Strategies

December 8, 2011
Patient Satisfaction Impacted by Low Expectations

Patient satisfaction reporting could be affected by the "nocebo effect"--the opposite of the placebo effect--in which patients have low expectations and report low outcomes, thereby affecting hospital scores, according to an editorial in the Huffington Post.

For more information:
- read the editorial

Many of our hospital clients are realizing that improving the patient experience requires a combination of establishing employee expectations, training and development, process improvement and selection – the idea that the candidate behaviors that lead to patient-focused care can be identified and built into the selection process.   Considering this information, we’d think it would be easy to exceed these low expectations!

Hospital Employment Up – Or Is It?

While escalating costs and shrinking state reimbursements are forcing hospitals to preemptively lay off workers, health reform (and the influx of patients that comes along with it) is causing those same facilities to bring in new employees as well.

Yet, the healthcare industry still remains a bright spot in the still weakened economy: Labor demand across all industries dipped for the sixth consecutive month but healthcare practitioners and technical workers posted 23,300 more jobs in November, FierceHealthcare reported.

The Impact of Don Berwick’s Brief Stint as CMS Administrator?

Among his accomplishments, Kaiser Health News reports, Don Berwick helped lead Medicare into the pay-for-performance approach. In October, CMS unveiled a final rule for accountable care organizations.

Berwick also lead the Partnership for Patients initiative, a $1 billion program that tests post-hospitalization models for reducing hospital-acquired preventable conditions and saving patient lives.

For more information:
- read the Health Affairs blog post
- read the Forbes editorial
- here's the Kaiser Health News article

Pay for performance, accountable care organizations and patient safety initiatives may not be the stuff of daily discussions in HR, but they are changing the way we think about our healthcare workforce, and what is required of every employee from environmental services to CEO.

Physician Employment a “Building Block” for Coordinated Care?

[A] study last month found that 70 percent of national hospitals and health systems plan to employ more physicians in the next one to three years, while 67 percent of hospitals and health systems are seeing more requests from independent physician groups about employment opportunities.

“The health systems are using their newly employed physician groups as building blocks for coordinated care and payment initiatives, including bundled payments and Accountable Care Organizations," April Wortham, an analyst with HealthLeaders-InterStudy, told the Commercial Appeal.

For more information:
- read the Commercial Appeal article

Perhaps, but the skills necessary to innovate, collaborate and lead are not emphasized during medical training.  Often, physician leaders are not equipped to lead, or even to be productive “employees”.

Hospitals use more NPs, PAs amid doc shortage

With some hospitals struggling to fill a physician void, more institutions are turning to nurse practitioners (NP) and physician assistants (PA) for a solution. In fact, hospital outpatient visits handled by only NPs or PAs jumped 50 percent from 2000-2001 (10 percent) to 2008-2009 (15 percent), according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

A shift toward more PA and NP utilization could be beneficial to the delivery of care. Research earlier this year found that patients are more satisfied with care from nurse practitioners than from doctors and that care delivered by advanced practice nurses is just as safe and effective, if not more so, than that provided by physicians.

To learn more:
- here's the CDC report
- read the Medscape article (reg. req.)

A mid-level practitioner can be a wonderful addition.  What we often see, however, is a very hap-hazard method of recruiting and selecting the right candidate.  Defining the desired behavioral competencies, using valid assessments and specifically-designed structured, behavioral interview would go a long way toward finding a new team member who will work well with their supervising physician and meet patients’ needs.

Bryan Warren Bryan Warren was the former Director of Healthcare Solutions at PSI. He was responsible for developing and promoting tools and services designed specifically for the unique challenges faced by healthcare organizations.