Workforce Skills Gap Creates Problems for Hiring, Opportunity for Employees

To close the skills gap, many companies are simply upskilling or retraining the staff they already have, something many executives see as a necessity.

The ever-evolving healthcare skills gap requires an increasing amount of technology and analytics knowledge. As the industry adopts more tools and strategies centered on tech, workers have to possess the skills to push healthcare forward and find new solutions to the problems of the day.

To close the gap, many companies are simply upskilling or retraining the staff they already have, something many executives see as a necessity. A report from PricewaterhouseCoopers showed that 45% of provider executives say that their workforce’s skills “are a significant barrier to organizational change.”

In the payer space, 55% of executives say that they need new hires to be skilled in health informatics and data analytics.

Pharma fared slightly better, with surveyed executives reporting that 60% of their employees have the skills necessary for a digital future.

The need to acquire new skills is partially due to advancements in AI, which may soon replace many manual or basic analytical tasks. When the survey looked at workers, around 42% of them had concerns that automation would put jobs at risk of elimination.

Why Invest in Employees?

Companies that invest in employees, the report suggests, will have a “digitally fit” workforce and one that is less likely to experience heavy turnover. This is particularly true with millennial employees, a group that will make up 75% of the workforce by 2030, according to a study from Jefferson Health.

Millennials also value career pathing and continuing education, which will be an essential component of upskilling the healthcare workforce.

Part of that career pathing is a professional development plan and an opportunity to pursue continuing education through tuition reimbursement. The PwC report backs this idea up by revealing that healthcare workers actually view technology training more positively than in other industries and believe it will help them do their jobs more effectively.

How to Invest In Employees

The report also presents some challenges, however, when it points out that “many companies lack in-house training capabilities – either expertise in training or the learning management system required to train a national workforce – and will have to partner with external organizations to deliver advanced training.” According to the report, 74% of employees say they are more likely to remain with an employer that offers training in AI, automation and data analytics.

Aligning with a proven education provider is a good opportunity for companies to challenge key staff to develop skills they can then train other employees on while providing the professional growth ambitious employees seek.

A program such as the University of South Florida’s online master’s degree and graduate certificate offerings in health informatics and healthcare analytics can provide both the flexibility and a principle-based education relevant to real-world problems that will help any employee improve their organization as they learn.

Dan Logan recently completed the Graduate Certificate in Health Informatics to stay in line with his employer’s requirements. He sees USF playing a valuable role for professionals like him as they look to continue their education throughout their careers, but he also sees it paying dividends for patients in the long run.

“The role of USF, as I see it, is to help students understand the history of health IT, the current status of health IT and what the future of health IT looks like,” Logan says. “But more importantly, I see USF educating students to make a difference in the lives of patients and as a public research university, USF faculty continuing to do research on how to improve quality of care and reduce cost as healthcare costs continue to rise.”

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