Healthcare HR: Three Important Trends

Simon Grace

The healthcare industry relies on a highly skilled, highly educated, high-cost, and highly in-demand workforce that literally makes life-or-death decisions every day. For that reason, the role of human resources in healthcare is critical.

With industry trends poised to inevitably affect the workforce, it is time that we have a discussion around the expanding strategic role HR must play to ensure that the healthcare industry is prepared for the changes ahead.

Here are some of those trends:

1. The changing skillset in healthcare

The rate of medical innovation is increasing, with new treatments and technologies creating new paradigms of healthcare. The ability to rapidly learn, unlearn, relearn, and access new knowledge will become more important than a clinician’s accumulated knowledge. The challenge lies in healthcare professionals staying updated with the necessary skills that increased innovation will bring. As an example, working with automated processes or methods that use technology will require ongoing learning and change management. We have already seen both consumers and the workforce demand the use of apps in healthcare. By empowering a culture of adaptability, HR is propelling this dizzying rate of change and at the same time ensuring their workforce is prepared for where these changes may lead.

2. The nursing and specialised workforce shortage

We all know there is a nursing shortage in the healthcare and aged care industries, primarily caused by increasing demand for services and an unhappy workforce. However, with the increasing complexity of healthcare services, due to the growing rate of medical innovation and chronic diseases, the workforce is becoming far more specialized. In fact, the number of specialized doctors in training grew by 72% between 2005 and 2015. In effect, the war for talent only has just begun. Healthcare providers should see their HR function as their single most important asset for long-term success.

In short, the advice I would give HR would be to leverage your workforce data to plan for future workforce-specialised service gaps, create a strong talent acquisition engine and invest well into cross-group learning/training and career development.

3. The changing funding models of healthcare

As I have written in previous blogs, the government is shifting to new value-based models of care. Simply put, value-based models of care shift funding from “fee-for-service” to “fee-for-outcomes” and have already demonstrated success in the United States. Value-based health systems will have an increased focus on portfolio variety, service efficiency, and patient engagement. One of these models, the Patient Centred Health Care Home, is already being piloted across Australia. When rolled out nationally, this will cause a spike in demand for nurses who can coordinate both primary care, specialist care, and remote health management. Investment into recruiting, onboarding, and knowledge management support will be valuable in getting workforces up to speed en masse.

Call to action

HR strategy is pivotal and will make or break a health provider’s ability to deliver care with adequate quality and performance. Speak with your HR team and executives to find out if your organisation is cognisant of these trends and has planned accordingly.

“We can no longer continue to use the ‘we have always done it this way’ argument.” –Dr. David Rosengren, Chair, Queensland Clinical Senate

If you are interested in hearing more about these trends while networking with peers, join us over a breakfast Thursday, 31st August 2017, at the Crown Casino in Melbourne. Register here.


Simon Grace

About Simon Grace

Simon Grace brings both consulting and social entrepreneurship experience from various countries across the Asia-Pacific region. As a member of the SAP industry value engineering team, Simon helps organisations within healthcare, aged care, and medical research move forward on their digital road map – from modernising and digitising operations to creating competitive business models accessible through new technologies.