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Why is Collaboration Critical to Successfully Training the Healthcare Workforce of Tomorrow?

There are two primary trends driving the collaborative needs of the healthcare workforce. The first is the immutable law of demographics. Our nation’s healthcare workforce is in the midst of a generational shift as more and more Baby Boomers retire and millions of Millennials come of age.


In 2007 nearly one-quarter of physicians in a nationwide survey were 60 years or older and by 2020 nearly half of all registered nurses will reach the traditional retirement age of 65.  As the Baby Boomers enjoy a well deserved retirement, the next generation of healthcare workers, notably Millennials, are entering the workforce in large numbers and bring very different perspectives and professional development needs with them.shutterstock_171851795_Small


Millennials have come of age during an era of technological transformation, globalization, and changing social norms. This has resulted in a very different set of behaviors and experiences than their predecessors. Since 50 percent of the overall workforce will be composed of Millennials by 2020, increasing to 75 percent by 2025, the healthcare industry needs to prepare for a digitally dependent and socially driven workforce that prefers to work in teams and on projects to accomplish goals.


At the same time, new financial and patient care models are driving the healthcare industry to become more collaborative and team oriented. According to a 2014 survey, 72 percent of surveyed health executives said that the industry will switch from a volume-based payment model to value-based approaches, such as Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs). The goal of the ACO is to improve coordination among the clinicians and institutions delivering care to a designated group of patients, thereby improving quality and lowering costs. Patient-Centered Medical Homes (PCMH) take a similar approach but focus on promoting team-based care in a patient-centric model within the medical practice. Both programs were spurred by the Affordable Care Act and require significantly improved teamwork, coordination, and data sharing to succeed.


One example of how these trends are converging to create new collaborative training demands can be found at the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA), which works to improve health care quality through the administration of evidence-based standards, measures, programs, and accreditation. NCQA’s “Strategies for Success as a PCMH” Program was designed to meet the needs of 11,000+ recognized PCMH practices across the country and provides a collaborative learning experience that promotes team-based care. NCQA achieves this goal by bringing the entire practice together to learn collaboratively and share best practices, which leads to more effective communication and better patient outcomes.


The program’s blended approach of clinician-led regional workshops and an innovative team-based online learning experience are demonstrating very positive results across the country. Since launching in December, hundreds of practices have participated and are completing 80% of the collaborative learning activities, viewing and sharing hundreds of related resources, and inviting more and more colleagues to collaborate each day. (In full transparency, the online components of the collaborative learning experience are powered by ArcheTeam, our new group-based learning solution at ArcheMedX.)


The team-based online learning experience blends the key elements of ‘small, group-based learning’ into a collaborative experience that enables learners to participate together across a planned curriculum of interactive video-based activities where team members can engage in discussions, recommend resources, and share best practices with their colleagues.  Team-based training isn’t a new concept in healthcare,  but its importance as a tool to prepare the workforce of tomorrow has become far more apparent today.


Joel Selzer
ArcheMedX, Inc.

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Joel is a digital innovation leader who has spent the past 15 years improving access to information and data across the life science and healthcare industries as an entrepreneur, board member, and advisor. He co-founded and currently leads ArcheMedX, which applies behavioral science to transform learning and generate actionable insights for Healthcare and Life Science organizations.

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