3 Industry Trends for Process Improvement

Julie Shenkman
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Following the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, process improvement in the health care industry is increasingly focused on talent management. Growing access to health care along with an aging population is creating a need for a larger health care workforce with diverse capabilities. Title V of the ACA directly addresses the need for a diverse, highly qualified health care workforce driven by the following industry trends.

Aging Population

Life expectancy is currently increasing every decade, and nearly 10,000 U.S. citizens reach the age of 65 each day. As people age, they have an increased need for health care services and are more likely to present with long-term illnesses requiring specialized care. Best practice process improvement takes this into consideration by recruiting and hiring health care workers with specialized training to meet these future needs. Health care organizations are implementing comprehensive on-the-job training programs to improve workforce skills in high-need areas and to ensure workforce development programs are in place when they are needed. In addition, more and more seniors are choosing to receive essential health care services in their home environment. Adding home care and hospice programs, increasing home health aid positions and developing call-in and online health information programs address that need.

Focus on Customer Service

Modern consumers prioritize customer service, and this extends to the health care industry. Process improvement that strives for better customer service is important for health care organizations to remain competitive. New payment structures that reinforce better quality care are leading to a trend towards a people-centered care model that places customer satisfaction at the forefront of medical care. This emphasis is directly affecting talent management in the industry. Health care recruiters are focusing on better etiquette during the recruiting and hiring process to create a culture of improved customer service that begins with the first contact with a prospective employee. In addition to growing people-centered employees, this method increases retention by helping health care workers to feel appreciated on the job.

Technology Growth

The trend towards integrating technology into all areas of the health care industry is driving innovation-centered process improvement. In the area of recruitment, applicant tracking systems prescreen job applicants so that hiring managers have more time to focus on highly qualified candidates. Technology-assisted behavioral assessments help organizations develop training programs to target deficiencies and provide rewards to workers who provide quality person-centered care. In the area of patient care, digital technology allows fewer providers to provide better care. Smartphone applications keep providers in direct contact with patients for improved responsiveness. Digitally connected monitoring equipment and analysis software work together to monitor and assess patients' conditions and provide health care workers with a continual stream of up-to-date information.

These 21st century trends are driving change in the health care industry. Through process improvement, health care organizations assess current policies and implement actions to bring their workforce and delivery model better in line with current and future needs. Develop your health care process improvement plan to better serve the needs of an aging customer-service-oriented population.


Photo courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net



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