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build a coding workforce

Meet Healthcare Job Shortages by Building a Coding Workforce from Non-traditional Sources

This guest blog post comes from our partner nThrive (formerly Precyse).

In an economy where many people still struggle to find high paying jobs, the healthcare industry is the exception. In fact, there is a shortage of qualified workers across many healthcare fields. According to an article in Modern Healthcare (2015), “Healthcare is one of the few industries in which there are more job openings than unemployed workers.” Moreover, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 9 of the top 30 occupations expected to see the most growth are in healthcare, and the World Health Organization relates that the world will be short 12.9 million healthcare workers by 2035. To address this issue, nThrive Education™ created the nThrive Education™ Transitions Program. “We saw healthcare organizations struggling to fill positions, and communities with high unemployment so we decided to build a program that mutually benefits health care organizations and job seekers alike,” says Tom Ormondroyd, nThrive president of education and analytics.

How the nThrive Education Transitions Program Works

As part of the Transitions Program, nThrive Education is partnering with health care organizations across the nation to provide education and training to unemployed and underemployed workers, many whom have no healthcare experience. Upon successful completion of the program, graduates qualify for high-demand health care jobs, such as medical coders, billers, patient access representatives, clinical documentation improvement specialists, and patient financial service representatives.

This program can be used by healthcare organizations to support internal growth of coding populations by creating an educational ladder that provides coders the technical acumen to advance to more complex forms of coding such, same day surgery, in-patient and emergency room coding.

The Transitions Program leverages the nThrive Education revenue cycle eLearning solution—a key factor in rapidly educating program candidates by evaluating competency, and targeting education to knowledge weaknesses as training progresses and focusing the education only on the job to be created. With more than two million learners, nThrive Education is the most innovative, widely adopted online healthcare education solution.

The benefits of a ‘grow-your-own workforce’ solution

There are many benefits to cultivating a locallybased workforce by educating and training unemployed, underemployed or career-change candidates:

  • Helps address labor shortages
  • Builds and sustains positive community relations
  • Accelerates productive on-the-job start date – Training in as little as 10 weeks to prepare students for full-time paid positions by targeting to the specific job/role.
  • Fosters workforce loyalty – Provide people with education and training, and growth opportunities creates a more loyal and stable workforce.
  • Reduces costs – As an optional supplement to the Transitions Program, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Apprenticeship Program offers students and their teaching institutions remuneration in the form of tuition reimbursement, housing costs, and in some cases, physical classrooms.
  • Eliminates need for physical classrooms - nThrive Education offers classroom, online, or even a hybrid instruction. An internet connection is all that is needed to learn virtually while still being able to interact realtime with other students and instructors and receive real-life practice and simulation.

Examples of ‘grow-your-own’ concept

nThrive has used the Transitions Program to staff its own workforce. The company partnered with non-profit Vermont state government organization, and the U.S. Department of Labor Apprenticeship Program to educate local Vermont residents as skilled medical coders in just 11 weeks. In fall 2015, graduating class members passed their coding certification exams, and 12 candidates are now currently employed as full-time nThrive medical coders. A second coder class was completed in the first half of 2016 when another 18 coders graduated, and a third class has begun in fall 2016 for Certified Tumor Registrars, demonstrating that the program can be applied to other job roles besides medical coders.

“This has truly been a mutually beneficial endeavor,” explained Stacie Moore, nThrive Transitions Program Liaison. “We are thrilled to have given these individuals the skills, education, training and equipment they needed to begin a new career with a steady paycheck and a great future. In turn, they have given back to our organization by enhancing our company culture and filling greatly needed medical coding positions.”

As the healthcare industry continues to expand over the next decade, new workforce strategies will be required in order to keep pace with resource shortfalls. With the right tools and a stringent vetting and development process, healthcare providers can truly grow their own workforce to meet resource shortages, contain staffing costs and provide even greater support for their local communities. Through its Transitions Program, nThrive will be there to help move healthcare forward by addressing revenue cycle staffing challenges.

Learn more about nThrive and HealthStream’s Revenue Cycle solutions.

Reference

“Tightening labor markets pressure healthcare to up wages”, Bob Herman, March 26, 2015, Modern Healthcare

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