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The future of work in an age of digital transformation

Health systems which invest in the digital employee experience will emerge as an employer of choice and retain staff.

Susan Morse, Managing Editor

The future of work depends on technology, good management and flexibility in the workplace, according to a HIMSS20 Digital session "Healthcare Perspectives on the Future of Work: An Analysis."

Ninety-two percent of healthcare leaders believe future technologies will continue to transform how clinicians and staff serve their communities, according to research conducted by The Workforce Institute at Kronos with Regina Corso Consulting.

THE SURVEY FINDINGS

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Of  355 survey respondents, 152 are registered nurses, 102 are in information technology and 101 work in human resources, all in a healthcare setting.

The number one consideration valued by all three groups, not surprisingly, is competitive pay, followed by different priorities depending on the survey-taker.

For nurses, the second consideration is having a good manager; for HR professionals, it's having a positive workplace culture and competitive benefits; and for IT staff, it's all about trusting them to do their job.

Across the board, all valued the ability to have flexible work schedules. Eighty-six percent value flexible work arrangements, followed by good team participation, the ability to develop their skills and a feeling of a sense of purpose, said Nanne Finis, chief nurse executive for Kronos.

The number one value for healthcare leaders is employee experience.

Executives are facing labor shortages. The average age of a nurse is 51 and 70,000 nurses are retiring annually, according to Finis.

Up to 80% of a health system's cost is in labor. Turnover impacts culture and teamwork, and the cost is estimated at $70,000 to $80,000 for one nurse.

Health system leaders that can offer flexibility in the workplace such as a work/life balance, flexible time off and benefits, and the ability for staff to switch shifts and telecommute are ahead on the retention curve, according to Finis. Also important is a workplace culture of shared values and a shared belief system -- that is, attitudes that people in the workplace share -- and good management.

It's very important, said all of the respondents, to work for an employer that attracts and retains employees.

THE DIGITAL EXPERIENCE

At least 95% of all nurses, human resource and information technology professionals said it is important to work for an organization that thinks about the digital experience.

Information technology is no longer just part of the back office infrastructure,  but is driving work efficiency and effectiveness. What's needed is real-time data that the staff can readily act upon, they said.

This is using technology for real time documentation, medication administration and patient safety, Finis said.

"The linkage between technology and outcomes is important," she said.

As organizations continue to invest in technology that enables more efficient, higher-quality care, healthcare leaders must consider the full impact of these technologies on the future of work.

"We wanted to understand the digital transformation and how health facilities can emerge as an employer of choice," Finis said.

Leaders must be ready to guide employees through digital transformation as there are challenges in use and adoption.

Technology helps to create more meaningful jobs.

The survey shows that for nurses the benefits of investing in new technology is productivity and to remain competitive; for HR, it's an increase in compliance; and for IT, it's improved security.

Less than half of survey respondents said their organization has invested in future work initiatives such as AI automation and flexible work options. Forty percent of IT said it has been talked about but not done.

"The future of work is all about improved efficiency, followed by employee welfare, followed by more use of technology," Finis said.

Twitter: @SusanJMorse
Email the writer: susan.morse@himssmedia.com

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