By Tim Teague on Jul 31, 2019 11:00:00 AM
“Upskilling” is a hot topic in today’s rapidly changing corporate world of technological advancements. Articles are published daily predicting the demise of entire workforces due to machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI). While many healthcare workers serve in hands-on positions like nursing, they’re not entirely immune to the changes.
All this begs the question : will medical employees need to be upskilled in the near future or risk, losing their jobs? The short answer is, “Yes.” But, the news isn’t all bad for either employers or workers. Here’s why:
What upskilling actually means in the context of healthcare
Upskilling is already commonplace within the medical community. The most obvious example has been the implementation of electronic health records (EHR) across health systems. Since EHR is now industry-standard, it’s easy to forget there was a time when the technology was considered foreign.
Moving forward, technological upskilling will center on AI-assisted telehealth solutions and automated billing systems. Clinical workers will need to learn how to effectively use telehealth technology for improved patient outcomes. Accountants and medical coders will need to interact with advanced billing systems that maximize revenue and assist with ever-changing CMS guidelines.
Why healthcare employees need upskilling
Medical workers will require continued upskilling in order to harness the power of emerging technology. Just as with EHR implantation, embracing new solutions won’t be optional. Employees will face a situation in which training is mandatory.
Savvy workers will welcome upskilling, recognizing it ultimately results in more opportunity. Moreover, many employees will appreciate the improved efficiency afforded with new technologies that makes jobs easier.
Why employers benefit from upskilling workers
Some company leaders may wonder if it makes more financial sense to upskill current employees or hire replacements that already possess advanced technological acumen. Fortunately for workers, the answer is that replacement isn’t a viable option.
First, the existing healthcare workforce enjoys years of hands-on experience that is very valuable and hard to replicate. Even with changes in technology, traditional nursing skills will always be critical.
Second, constantly evolving technology means that training is always inevitable. Imagine if companies had simply replaced healthcare staff 10 years ago rather than teaching existing employees EHR systems. Had they done that, those previously “tech-savvy” new hires would already find their skills lacking with regards go AI and telehealth.
Affordable upskilling strategies
Most healthcare organizations will find that upskilling employees on new medical technology won’t be as costly as feared. Past EHR implementations provide a roadmap to cost-effective and successful rollouts. There are two ways to get, needed training results while managing budgets.
First, training should be prioritized based on employee functions. Typically, the new skill sets will be most critical for company leaders in the early days. Also, those who work in IT will need to upskill early in order to help train the rest of the team later.
Second, training costs can be controlled by leveraging digital tools and services from third-party firms. Sometimes it makes more sense to outsource employee education, especially when it can be done remotely. Companies can minimize the use of on-site trainers whenever possible.
While continued technological changes in healthcare can be scary for both employers and workers, they ultimately lead to greater efficiency and improved work conditions. Rather than avoid necessary upskilling efforts, companies and employees should embrace ongoing training. Just as with EHR implementation, AI and telehealth will one day seem very normal.
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