Building a High Performance Health Workforce

The need for health care workers to enhance how they perform their jobs is greater than ever given the demands of U.S. health reform, millions of new patients accessing the system, and the current push to deliver greater value in our health care system. According to Dr. Timothy Hoff, Associate Professor of Management and Healthcare Systems at the D’Amore-McKim School of Business, such performance enhancements are possible only through better understanding what motivates professionals such as physicians and nurses in their work. The job and career dissatisfaction of physicians and nurses is at an all-time high. This is due in part to their presence in a workplace that does not presently appreciate what they want, what they need to do, and how they need to do it. Many younger health professionals have different mindsets than their predecessors, and are interested in greater work-life balance, more time off, and a workplace in which they can conduct patient care uninhibited by excessive administrative demands. According to Dr. Hoff’s research and that of other scholars, understanding these evolving value systems, and designing jobs and workplaces around them, is imperative. This means embracing innovative care delivery models such as team-based care, employing new occupations that can assist in administering the logistics of complex patient care, developing benefit packages that deliver the rewards these new physicians want, and embracing novel job structures that include part-time work. What will not work, according to Dr. Hoff, is what the health care industry is attempting to do right now, which is to financially incentivize physicians and nurses to do more of the very things that they wish not to do, such as intensively using health information technology, and which take them away from the relationship-building that so many of them in survey after survey state as the most rewarding aspects of their jobs.

On May 17, Dr. Hoff gave a workshop on how to build a high performance health workforce at Oxford University’s Management in Medicine Program, sponsored by Green-Templeton College. Please see here for more information.