Four Challenges That Are Common in Healthcare Human Resources
October 10, 2017
In the current issue of HealthStream’s PX Advisor, Elliot Clark, chairman and CEO of HRO Today, talks at length about specific characteristics common to healthcare HR.
Underinvestment in HR Tools
Healthcare HR, according to Elliot, has also been denied the capital expenditure to acquire modern tools. Commercial, non-healthcare, HR departments typically have a wide variety of measurement and analytic tools at their disposal, from applicant tracking solutions to planning tools. These are often unavailable in the healthcare space,” states Elliot. He believes healthcare requires the tools to narrow attention to the most important metrics: time to fill, cost per hire, and a new metric, the cost of not hiring.
Aging Workforce Demographics
Because time to fill is rising in the United States, Elliott says, “It’s a perfect storm. We have an aging population. Our health professional educational systems are not keeping up with retirements and increased demand. As a result, gaps in time to fill have been stretching out across the country,” according to Elliot.
Staff Shortages Limit Care Volumes
The metric no one is covering, in Elliot’s view, is the cost of not hiring. “Just think about that for a moment,” challenged Elliot. “We can tell you we spend, let’s say, $6,000 to $9,000 or $12,000 filling a vacancy, depending on the health profession. What’s not being measured is the business impact of not hiring that staff member. That’s the metric you need to examine with your finance department and other executives to get the data to measure its financial impact. That’s the study everyone needs to do—the cost of not hiring.”
Elliot believes this way of thinking transforms the concept of HR as an expense to HR as an investment. “Crossing that Rubicon mentally makes all the difference in the world.” Elliot explains. Historically, organizations in healthcare viewed human resources as a cost center. Elliot says there is a way to change that paradigm. He explains the first step is for HR pros to talk the language of business. “HR must be able to talk about business impacts—the cost of not hiring— because more than half of operating costs are for people, specifically having the best people,” he states.
The other challenge will be workforce quality. “We’ve entered a new era, where outcomes-based measurement affects reimbursement. If your readmission rates are high because you have a poor quality medical staff or poor quality nursing staff, you’re going to adversely affect your business model. Every indicator in the market says you’ve got to start looking at workforce differently,” observes Elliot. He urges healthcare leaders to look at workforce as an investment in the future for better outcomes, qualifications, and ratings.
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