By Walter Tran, Executive Manager, Health and Social Care
The issues facing today’s Healthcare Leaders are enormous. An ageing workforce, dropping health insurance participation, rising costs, robotic technology, electronic health records, royal commissions, patient expectations and an enormous amount of data to manage it all.
Going digital is seen as part of the answer. E-health and electronic health records (EMR) are on everyone’s agenda.
Faced with the changes that are coming we asked leaders, “how are your “people” in the people | processes | technology regime going to adapt? How are you ensuring they are working effectively, compliantly and understand their roles?”
We asked CIO’s, CFO’s and health executives at the Healthcare Leaders Forum on the Gold Coast this week to prioritise their issues.
Not surprisingly they voted New Ways of Working as their number 1 priority. Closely followed by Implementing New Systems. According to those we interviewed, they are looking for ways to “contemporise documents” and “break into new ways of working”, to change behaviour about manual processes and systems.
The workforce is conservative - described as the grey glacier bearing down on the healthcare industry by Stephen Duckett. In the UK, according to Mike Wright, Hull University, the NHS has described the effect as the “55” effect which is the age at which the nursing staff retire. Hospitals are in crisis about their workforce. Angela Ryan from the Australian Digital Health Agency talked about a 20% gap in personnel worldwide.
They are going to have to find new ways of working, retaining and retraining their staff.
The enormity of the workforce issues overshadowed compliance in some situations. Compliance was seen as a “hygiene” issue. But you can’t’ underestimate compliance. It is not a one-off tick-the-box exercise. Without accreditation you aren’t in business.
Some saw the maintenance of their compliance as a governance umbrella under which everything else worked. The issues with sharing documents, finding and sourcing the right version and making policies and processes accessible did resonate, just not as a stand-alone issue.
Unless of course you are about to be audited. Then the complexity of the state-based regulations, hospital accreditation, reporting, auditing and governance were crucial business issues. With a three-year review cycle it is easy to dismiss the effort required or time needed to stay compliant.
Improving business processes and adopting new ways of working is a “gift of time”. Ultimately it is about having more precious time to care for patients and doing less paperwork and admin.