Who needs tech skills? It depends on what skills you’re talking about. I can say that there are very few positions in any type of health and human service organization that don’t require some tech or informatics skills. And, growing and finding the tech-savvy talent an organization needs is a major challenge for any organization (see “Growing” The Tech-Savvy Staff You Need all members and Finding The Tech Talent You Need all members).
This came to mind when I read the recent article, 5 in-demand healthcare jobs, in FierceHealthcare. Their “top five” list – coders, informatics officers, health insurance brokers, chief medical officers, and nurses – articulated the need to find team members with the ability to use technology and tech-generated data as a growing essential in most roles in the field.
The coders (including medical billing) and informatics officer positions are obvious users of tech-generated data. In an era where performance matters (see Creating Performance Dashboards From Your EHR To Support Executive Decision Making & Metrics-based Management all members, Key Strategic Information You Need To Make Critical Decisions: Planning to Use Your EHR Dataset To Support Executive Decision Making all members and Reinventing The CIO all members) managers and professionals need great data to stay in the game. Informatics officers are the “tech advisor” to the executive team.
The medical billing and coding teams are responsible for ensuring the quality, accuracy, and regulatory compliance of billing submitted by provider organizations to payers. The complexity of new coding systems and documentation requirements can only be addressed cost-effectively with the use of technology (see Avoid The CPT Coding Nightmare all members and ‘Codeageddon’ all members).
The two positions that may raise some questions about tech requirements are the clinical positions – chief medical officers and nurses. Chief medical officers (CMO) provide leadership, direction, and planning for clinical activities in health care organizations. The CMO is also the liaison to management on matters pertaining to medical staff activities, patient clinical outcomes, and physician performance. These are functions that are now facilitated by a variety of technologies and data sets (see Innovate Or Dwindle all members, No Decision Support Tools? You’re Not Alone all members, Using Your Data For Strategic Decision Support & Market Differentiation all members and Cutting Edge Uses Of Health Informatics In Decision Support all members.
The same is true of nursing staff in the new service system – with their evolving role in coordinating patient care, educating e-patients, and primary care. These emerging roles require knowledge of technology driven solutions (see Turning Your Clinical Team Into Watson all members and The Era of The Tech-Enabled Caregiver all members).
There are two implications executive teams should take from this “tech-skill” requirement shift. The first is in the specs for your organization’s positions. Are tech-related and data-facilitated functions core competencies in your position descriptions and candidate screening? And what is your plan for bringing new technology and informatics skills to your current team. For more on meeting those challenges, check out these great presentations from The 2013 OPEN MINDS Technology & Informatics Institute:
The strategy question that looms is, as we increase the number of health and human service workers, how much time and money should be invested in building the technology skill set of the existing workforce?
For another free resource, see: Talent Management For A New Paradigm all members