How Can Medical Reskilling Increase Retention Rates in Healthcare?

Data shows that our increasing dependence on AI and Automation makes medical reskilling an essential investment for health systems.

The global workforce experienced a lot of change in recent years. And many of those changes forced businesses of all types to fully embrace the challenges, perks, and conveniences of technology.

It’s a modern world. One with machines that read X-rays and complicated systems that automatically dispense medications. Yet even as these technologies make us feel more connected and productive, their steep trajectory will send a ripple effect throughout the industry. This will result in a dramatic shift in the professional landscape.

With that shift will come an entirely new approach to hiring and developing employees. But this isn’t some distant future that few of us will live long enough to see.

It’s already here. Today, workers from all over the world—in every industry—already spend a significant chunk of their workdays using tools that require digital skills. And research suggests that through 2030, the time spent using advanced technological skills will increase by 50%.

To illustrate the significance, let’s consider the meteoric rise of telehealth.

A survey conducted by the American Hospital Association (AHA) reported that telehealth visits within the hospital system increased from 35% in 2010 to 76% in 2017. Though, telehealth visits increased by 50% in the first quarter of 2020, they have since stabilized at 38 times higher than before the global pandemic.

This explosive trend is indicative of entirely new possibilities in healthcare.

Possibilities that significantly reduce disparities and equalize access, particularly in rural communities.

Other attractive benefits include decreases in human error and improvements in tracking and reporting. And while the advantages are clear, this increased dependency on information technology—and other tech-heavy solutions—also creates specific challenges.

And while the advantages are clear, this increased dependency on information technology—and other tech-heavy solutions—also creates specific challenges. Most notably? The expanding gap between your existing workforce and the skills needed to keep pace with these technological advancements.

This is where medical reskilling takes the stage.

But what does that actually mean? And why is it so essential? Let’s review…

What Is Medical Reskilling?

Here’s a high-level overview: Medical reskilling is the learning of completely new skills that often results in a career change. The training is usually provided by a post-secondary institution or an Allied Health LMS hosted by the learner’s employer. Usually, it can take anywhere from six months to one year before completion.

For healthcare professionals, medical reskilling and certificate stacking aren’t some frivolous perks like ping-pong tables in the breakroom. They’re essential benefits that empower each individual to own their long-term career development. And they play a pivotal role in the success of your organization.

Which brings us here…

Why Is Medical Reskilling Important?

Skill shifts are nothing new. They’ve quickly followed the introduction of new technologies in the workplace since the late 1700s–during the first wave of the Industrial Revolution.

But this swift adoption of automation and artificial intelligence (AI) we’re witnessing only accelerates the need for adaptable reskilling.

As illustrated by the almost ubiquitous use of telehealth, automation and AI are changing interactions between patients and healthcare professionals. The demand for hands-on care providers (like nurses and dental assistants) will continue to increase. Conversely, the need for office-support staff will decrease as automated systems take over the daily administrative responsibilities.

It’s not just front-office roles that are in decline, however. The demand for skills such as monitoring patient vitals will also stagnate as machines take over more routine tasks.

But let’s take this one step further.

According to the World Economic Forum, approximately 54% of workers will need to reskill—or upskill—in the next three years. Another survey by West Monroe Partners found that 60% of employees believe their current skill set will become outdated within three to five years.

And that’s what makes reskilling so undeniably important:

  1. Your employees have to possess the knowledge and competencies necessary to succeed in a rapidly evolving industry.
  2. You don’t want to find your business on the wrong end of statistics if wage reductions and displacement become more commonplace.
  3. Your ability to provide the level of care your patients deserve directly correlates to the skills of your employees.

While technological advancements have us all marveling at the possibilities, the truly mind-boggling reality is the sheer number of new jobs they’ll create. We’re talking about roles that will require advanced IT skills, data analysis, and engineering—roles like nano-medics and memory-augmentation specialists.

It sounds like science-fiction, but this reality isn’t that far off. So employers need to prepare.

The In-Demand Skills of Tomorrow

The World Health Organization estimates that by 2030, there will be a healthcare workforce gap of around 14.5 million.

What that means is that the most in-demand skills will be radically different from what they are today. Further, 50% of the entire workforce will need to retrain if they want to stay employable.

Here’s a small sampling of skills your employees will need to keep your organization on the right track:

Cognitive Flexibility: As the world evolves, your employees also need to evolve. It’s called having a growth mindset—the ability to adapt to change and conceptualize multiple complex ideas.

Digital Literacy: Regardless of industry, a solid understanding of emerging technologies, such as AI, machine learning, the Internet of Things (IoT), and data science is essential.

Emotional Intelligence: While tech is undoubtedly on the rise, some jobs will always require a uniquely human element. Empathy, communication, and collaboration will remain non-negotiable staples in healthcare.

How Your Organization Can Adapt

Teaching your current employees new and different skills while simultaneously hiring entry-level employees with the goal of training them to fill specific skill gaps is the defining characteristic at the core of medical reskilling.

It’s a surefire way to preserve your teams’ functional knowledge and understanding of company culture as they work to broaden their skill set. But what does this look like?

Some health systems facilitate training using in-house resources and programs tailored to their organizational objectives. (This is key.)

We’ve talked before about how justifying the cost of learning and development often feels like a lost cause. Mostly because it’s difficult to tie that expense to any definitive ROI.

But consider this:

So we can tell you now that medical reskilling opportunities add substantial value to both learners and your business.

But if the numbers above aren’t compelling enough, we’ve outlined a couple of ways you can effectively measure your returns on the cost of training programs. Here’s what we recommend:

Track Adoption Rates

You already know that any piece of technology is only worth the investment if people actually use it. Yet, 51% of skills development platforms don’t provide learners with what they need, resulting in poor adoption rates.

Once you decide to implement some sort of LMS, you’ll want something simple, accessible, and engaging. You can easily track user log-ins, progress, and completion if you have the right platform.

These engagement rates will give you clear insight into whether or not your employees are taking advantage of the opportunities to upskill and reskill.

Define Your Goals and Objectives

Goal setting is critical to the success of any health system, regardless of size or location. It’s about establishing a culture where every employee knows their responsibilities and understands how their role drives the organization forward.

By establishing definitive, mission-critical objectives, you’ll set clear guidelines as to what skills your workforce needs to add greater value and tackle the challenges we face in healthcare today.

The bottom line is that technology is pushing the entire healthcare industry to new, almost unfathomable heights. And we’re already living in a world where star talent is fought over so fiercely.

Health systems have no choice but to look at medical reskilling as a viable alternative to broken hiring processes that waste time, cost money, and drain resources.

So, are the returns of retraining your workforce worth the costs? Without a doubt.

Want to learn more about how digital upskilling and reskilling solutions can add more value to your organization?

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