Healthcare Analytics, Population Health Management, Healthcare Big Data

Population Health News

Population Health, Clinical Analytics Drive New Job Categories

By Jennifer Bresnick

Healthcare organizations are expanding their ranks in new directions in order to address ICD-10, population health management, and care quality.

- Just a few years ago, the idea of hiring a Chief Population Health Officer would have seemed absurd for most healthcare systems in the United States, but the pervasive need for innovative strategies to embrace healthcare reform is requiring providers to hire new types of talent to fill positions that may not even have a standardized description yet.  A new survey by AMN Healthcare and the Center for Professional Advancement found that 86% of organizations recognize the need to hire care coordinators, telehealth experts, ICD-10 coders, and Chief Experience Officers who bring new perspective and new skills to the table.

population health management and healthcare data analytics

Unsurprisingly, ICD-10 experts are in hot demand as the industry counts down to October 1, 2015, but organizations are also seeking employees who will help with other aspects of the industry’s transformation.  Forty-four percent of providers are seeking ICD-10 coders who are well-versed in the complex medical coding system.  In addition to coders, clinical documentation improvement specialists are being sought after as organizations turn their attention to data quality and integrity ahead of the switch.

Care coordinators, who help patients navigate the healthcare system and have been shown to be extremely cost-effective for organizations, rank second on the list of in-demand employees.  Forty-one percent of the 300 respondents to the survey are already recruiting, or plan to recruit, a coordinator for their practice.  “As the healthcare system becomes more complicated, the care between individual providers becomes more and more disjointed,” said one participant. “A care coordinator is necessary to ensure the patient receives the best quality care in a reasonable time frame and without wasting resources.״

Twenty-one percent of providers are looking for nurses with telehealth experience, while a quarter of respondents want their physicians to be able to conduct remote consults and engage with telehealth technologies.  Organizations view telehealth-trained physicians as a way to combat the ongoing shortage of qualified clinical staff and to reach rural populations without breaking the bank.

In addition to seeking staff members, some organizations are expanding their C-suite with roles like Chief Clinical Transformation Officer, Chief Strategy Officer, and Chief Population Health Officer.  However, the number of organizations actively recruiting executives is far fewer than those who want lower-level staff members to add expertise directly to their clinical teams.

“Disease prevention is paramount to improving the quality and length of life for all of our patients,” said a respondent, who is part of the 13% of organizations looking to hire a leader for population health. “We need a champion such as the Chief Population Health Officer to focus on disease trends and risk factors, and design programs to identify those factors. Then they can design education for this population, enabling healthcare workers to prevent disease processes.”

Providers are changing their hiring strategies because they’re well aware that healthcare is changing around them.  Seventy-seven percent believe that recruiting innovate staff members is essential for transition to value-based reimbursement, while 94% think it’s crucial for improving patient care.

While the number of organizations actively searching for new staff is significantly less than the number of organizations who think they need to start doing so, the process of reforming the healthcare industry has never been a speedy one.  Healthcare organizations may be concentrating their efforts on near-term projects like ICD-10, where they have the capacity to hire new workers at all, but the sense that change is just around the corner – and that providers must adapt to survive – is certainly highly apparent.

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