U.S. Health Care: Changing a Broken System

Stethoscope.jpgIt’s quite the time to be in healthcare. While the industry is busy grappling with sky-high staffing demands, the U.S. healthcare system is also going through major reform post-Affordable Care Act.

Health systems are experiencing tremendous challenges in regards to reimbursements, especially as it relates to Medicare and Medicaid, and in order to deal with the revenue shortfall, providers are having to make dramatic budgetary cuts. Unfortunately, one of their largest expense categories is staffing, and that not only means doing more with less but also wage compression across the board.


healthcare fast facts

  • 1 in 5 nurses would not choose their current career1
  • The average age of a U.S. nurse is 50 years old1
  • One-quarter of all doctors are 60 or older2
  • 80 percent of all dentist are 45 or older3
  • 36 percent of the national workforce are millennials, and that number will grow to 50 percent by 20204

That’s troubling for many healthcare providers, because despite these budgetary cuts, demand for healthcare, specifically among the country’s growing elderly population, is soaring. By 2050, people age 60 or older will reach 2 billion globally, and more older folks means more demand for healthcare. And as healthcare workers are stretched thinner and thinner, many begin to burn out. Add in the fact that healthcare technology has not kept pace, and fewer young people are choosing healthcare as their profession, serious problems potentially lie ahead.

So, what should healthcare providers do to keep these workers engaged and make healthcare careers more attractive for younger people? It begins with a consultative approach.



  • Identify organizational skill gaps
  • Develop a transfer-of-knowledge plan to share insider wisdom with the new crop of healthcare professionals
  • Create a leadership succession plan

redesign the workplace

  • Create flexible work schedules and part time assignments
  • Redesign for ergonomics
  • Lower the physical demand of the jobs
  • Upgrade technology
  • Create a peer mentoring and job shadowing program
  • Allow workers who are retirement eligible to take a portion of their retirement benefit while still working

Taking these steps will help, but in order to better position healthcare as an attractive occupation we need to make even more changes. We need to educate our youth on selecting healthcare as an exciting career choice and potentially help them with financing their education. Healthcare providers need to better understand market dynamics and then develop a strategy to fit the situation. And while there is no magic pill or one single answer, that’s where the talent experts come in. Coming up with a new employment strategy requires a multi-pronged approach that addresses both employee retention and new hire attraction. Over the years, some of the steps we’ve taken to help healthcare providers reshape their talent dynamics include:

  • Instituting a candidate-friendly employment process
  • Building an effective/efficient continuous recruiting process
  • Creating a visible ‘Employer of Choice’ brand
  • Introducing an effective candidate sourcing strategy with multiple sourcing streams
  • Hiring candidates that don’t just fit the role but are interested in the job for the long haul (This is easier said than done)
  • Having a competitive compensation program and paying sign-on bonuses if and when required
  • Having experienced/knowledgeable recruiters
  • Measuring it all with business analytics and reporting

All healthcare providers are faced with similar challenges—stressful/physical jobs, wage compression, less reimbursements (revenue), employee turnover, high demand for healthcare workers and a shortage of available skills in the marketplace. Yet, some enjoy success while others struggle to keep up. Thriving in the post-Affordable Care Act world can be done, but it requires a plan and a well thought out strategy. The good news for all in healthcare is that the high demand for services is not going away and will continue to grow given our aging population. As long as an effective employment strategy is in place, say, with the help of the experts at Yoh, healthcare providers have nowhere to go but up.

[1] practiceofprofessionalnursing/workforce/fastfacts-2014-nursing

This blog was written by Kim Davis. Kim Davis serves as Vice President, Sales for Yoh RPO. He is responsible for new business development as well as acts as an internal strategic consultant to RPO operations. Kim is a serial entrepreneur starting multiple talent acquisition/RPO businesses and is a recognized pioneer in the RPO vertical.

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