Magazine article Talent Development

Treating Healthcare's Talent Emergency with Training: Results from the State of Healthcare Training Describe the Expenses and Priorities for the Healthcare Industry's Staff Development and Training

Magazine article Talent Development

Treating Healthcare's Talent Emergency with Training: Results from the State of Healthcare Training Describe the Expenses and Priorities for the Healthcare Industry's Staff Development and Training

Article excerpt

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Developing the skills and knowledge of workers is front of mind for many healthcare employers as they face talent shortages and high turnover. And skills development is increasingly important as the critical services and responsibilities of healthcare teams expand in volume and scope. To keep pace with that expansion, healthcare organizations-from small, community-based facilities that deliver outpatient services, to acute care hospitals with thousands of employees-are investing in training.

At the same time, those responsible for delivering healthcare training today must shoulder a hefty compliance burden. For example, pay-for-performance initiatives within the Affordable Care Act incentivize or penalize U.S. facilities participating in Medicare based on specific quality measures. As a result, healthcare training functions often bear responsibility for instructing employees on how to practice behaviors that are rewarded, avoid those that are penalized, and comply with reporting requirements. Another such example: Under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, U.S. facilities must train workers on industry-wide standards for healthcare information on billing and the confidential handling and protection of patient information.

On average, healthcare facilities had a direct staff development and training (SD&T) expenditure of $782 per employee in 2014, according to new research from the Association for Talent Development and Relias Learning. The results of the ATD/Relias survey of 123 healthcare facilities in the United States provide a comprehensive snapshot of training activities, efficiencies, and expenditures across today's rapidly changing, highly regulated healthcare industry. The findings from this research previewed here are available in full in the report The State of Healthcare Training.

A vast range of healthcare facilities

To obtain a full view of the U.S. healthcare industry, ATD and Relias surveyed a broad range of facilities. Indeed, the SD&T function at a large acute care hospital may have different priorities, budgetary concerns, and responsibilities than the SD&T function at a small, community-based outpatient clinic.

Of the 123 facilities surveyed, 30 focused primarily on providing acute care hospital services. These hospitals are equipped with the personnel, technology, and infrastructure to diagnose and deliver treatment for a wide variety of severe illnesses and injuries. Of the remaining 93 facilities that provided other services, one-third focused on outpatient behavioral healthcare (including care for mental health and substance abuse), and nearly one-fifth operated skilled nursing facilities.

Other services survey participants provided include residential (including disability home care and disability resource centers) and nonresidential services for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, long-term hospital care, inpatient rehabilitation care, hospice care, home health agency services, and ambulatory or outpatient care.

The organizations that participated in the survey varied greatly in size, but acute care facilities typically reported much larger workforces. Among acute care hospitals, only about 10 percent were small, with fewer than 500 employees; and 38 percent were large, with at least 10,000 workers. However, for nonacute facilities, 60 percent were small and only 8 percent were large.

For both acute care and nonacute facilities, slightly over half of all staff were classified as clinical employees, meaning they provide direct patient care and support. Ownership structures, too, depended on facility type, with only 13 percent of acute care facilities being for profit; 70 percent were nonprofit, and 17 percent were government-owned. In contrast, 60 percent of nonacute facilities were for profit, 31 percent were nonprofit, and 9 percent were government-owned. …

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