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Experts weigh in on workforce shortage

Experts at the CHIME Innovation Summit discussed solutions to the ongoing workforce shortage facing healthcare systems.
By admin
Sep 18, 2023, 10:35 AM

CHARLOTTE, NC, September 2023 – Thought leaders in healthcare innovation converged on Advocate Health and Atrium Health last week from Sept. 13 to 15, to identify solutions to common problems created by the growing number of workforce challenges, including staffing shortages, employee retention, and clinician burnout.  

Dr. Rasu Shrestha, MBA (EVP, Chief Innovation and Commercialization Officer, Advocate Health) kicked off the Innovation Summit on Thursday morning with a powerful keynote on the future of work and the workforce: “Our new job description for all of us, and this is true for everyone in this room, is that we are Architects of Ecosystems. That’s the only way we can solve today’s most pressing challenges that we’re facing today.” 

Hosted by Andy Crowder, CHCIO (SVP, Chief Information Officer, Advocate Health, Southeast Region & Enterprise Chief Digital Technology Officer), the Summit was an invitation-only event for CHIME Members as well as provider leaders driving innovation within their organizations and representatives from program sponsors BakerTilly, Invene, Nuance, and RLDatix. Attendees came from as far as Los Angeles and New York City, sharing real-world case studies of innovation that are making a difference in their workplaces. 

Workforce solutions: Early recruitment strategies

Crowder was visibly moved by the progress he’s seen students making in one of Advocate Health and Atrium Health’s proactive initiatives to grow the healthcare workforce, in which high-performing high school students are recruited into a nine-month boot camp to prepare them for healthcare IT careers: “We’re looking for aptitude and attitude…I’ve got to tell you, some of these individuals that are coming out of these high schools are outperforming at a significant rate, because of what they got here and those opportunities.”  

Keith Fraidenburg, CHIME’s Chief Operating and Innovation Officer, said this was the organization’s biggest event yet: “We know the workforce challenges healthcare organizations are feeling are numerous and complex. Through Innovation Summits like this, CHIME brings key stakeholders together in an environment that fosters knowledge sharing and creative problem-solving, allowing us to identify and share practical and sustainable solutions.” 

Sharing insights and strategies: Innovation ‘fishbowl’

Members of the audience took opportunities to join invited faculty panelists and jump in the panel discussions, an interactive feature of the Summit format’s unusual “Fishbowl” format, which allows all attendees to contribute to the conversation and offer their own ideas and solutions. Provocative and probing questions led to lively discussions filled with insights and emotion. Attendees related numerous examples of the sometimes heart-wrenching fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the out-of-the-box solutions, both failures and successes, they have implemented to mitigate its impact on the healthcare workforce. 

Some of these solutions ranged from using generative AI to create predictive staffing models to more efficiently allocating nurses and other caregivers based on caseloads among various system locations; , and using business innovation models to re-imagine the way organizations meet the needs of patients and their families as well as their own employees.

The Summit also featured a micro-workshop presentation by Ben Tingey, an Innovation manager with Advocate Health, who outlined the internal process used at this industry-leading organization by the internal teams the organization collectively calls its “Innovation Engine.” This process is a step-by-step sequence based on the proven “Jobs-to-be-Done” framework popularized by Harvard professor Clayton Christiansen, as well as tools, models and methods including Strategyzer’s Business Model Canvas and Value Proposition Canvas. Tingey also discussed Atrium Health’s framework for identifying priorities for the change management interventions needed to successfully implement solutions. He shared a computer-animated fly-through of the massive innovation district under development in the heart of downtown Charlotte, designed to have a restorative impact on the communities surrounding the development called “The Pearl.” During the week, Atrium Health also published an important whitepaper outlining these innovation governance and management processes which are collectively known as “Design for Impact,” which will be the focus of an upcoming article here in Digital Health Insights.

Building on extensive experience in the fields of journalism, media production, and learning design and development, John Marc Green’s newest adventure is serving as Director of CHIME Innovation. In this role, his ongoing conversations with CHIME Members and Partners provide insights and direction to serve their interests in a variety of ways, including digital healthcare innovation journalism, professional development events and program facilitation, and on-demand educational development through CHIME Innovation.

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