The Changing Talent Scape in Healthcare

Vandana Nanda, President, Speciality Certificate Medical Assistance (SCMA) Headquartered in Durham, Speciality Certificate Medical Assistance is a healthcare certification company enabling healthcare professionals to certify themselves & their skills though its suite of offerings in Medical Assistant Certification, Specialty Certified Medical Assistant, Family Medicine, and many other areas.

Trained and certified medical assistants are an invaluable resource in today’s fast evolving and expanding healthcare industry. Transformational changes have become the 'new normal' across industries as technology becomes the constant in the equation making talent the variable susceptible to change. Healthcare is no different to this transformational change, as we move to technology enabled diagnostics, tele-medicine and improve pharmacology; talent needs have evolved simultaneously with better quality of administered care and patient experience.

The utmost challenge in the healthcare industry is the shortage of healthcare professionals in rural as well as urban areas. The shortage of medical professionals lead to decrease in quantity and quality of healthcare services, increased healthcare cost, decline in medical service in the rural areas and accessible only to those who can pay or afford it.

As the field of medicine has evolved into various subspecialties and has become technologically very sophisticated, the role of medical assistants too has evolved from providing general nursing to delivering more specialized services. As per the Medical council of India, there are only 10,22,859 allopathic doctors in India. At 80 percent availability it makes 0.62:1000 as per current population which is estimated around 1.33 billion, this is far below the prescribed ratio by WHO. The shortfall of talent and the need of quality healthcare in Tier II and Tier III healthcare, India are amidst a major transformational talent need to suffice to the gap with quality medical assistants who can support the clinical care of patients. India has a ratio of 0.7 doctors and 1.5 nurses per 1,000
people compared to the WHO’s ideal average of 2.5 doctors and nurses per 1,000 people. The lack of well qualified professionals is one of the major challenges for the Indian health care industry. The situation has become more critical as there is less concentration of medical professionals in urban areas, who account for only 30% of India’s total population. A lot of practitioners are unqualified, yet they service the ailing population living in rural and semi-urban areas. Some of them may too bright and skilled but cannot bear the cost of medical education and are not fully knowledgeable that poses a huge risk on people who avail treatment from them. Furthermore, India has an acute shortage of paramedical and administrative professionals who are the first go to resource in emergency cases.

The need is to plan to increase supply of Human resource for Health along with concrete policy to control attrition and emigration

With talent shortage in the health care industry only expected to grow in the coming years, organizations need to be proactive about planning for and implementing new talent strategies. Demand for health care will grow but the supply of health care providers will simultaneously decrease, with shortages of qualified primary care and specialist physicians and nurses predicted by 2020.

In the last year, healthcare has been the 4th largest employer in India focusing on therapeutic care and diagnostic upgrades. The national scheme for healthcare is another aspirational initiative infusing talent and upskilling resources currently employed in healthcare. Medical Assistants boost the environment of therapeutic care with collaborative diagnostics and electronic methods of medicine administration. Training these medical assistants and bench marking their knowledge and capabilities is one key essence that has been focused on for the years to come.

As quality of healthcare and hygiene become paramount in the healthcare ecosystem, talent and training are the Siamese twins bearing the baton. Qualitative medical services are becoming physiological needs for patients today as average spend on healthcare in the last decade has grown 268 percent in urban and rural population strata.

In a progressive and challenging healthcare environment, the medical organizations must ensure high levels of technical and professional expertise. According to a report by National Skill Development Council, labour force requirement for the healthcare sector is expected to grow from 35.9 lakh in 2013 to 74 lakh in 2022. This may create many jobs for the medical staff.

Emerging economy & growing population cannot deal with scarcity of health workforce. Continuous assessment of the gap in demand and supply is required. Government have taken initiatives to increase the supply of human resource for health with emphasis on hiring and training to develop health workforce aimed at providing minimum health coverage to all. The need is to plan to increase supply of Human resource for Health along with concrete policy to control attrition and emigration as hiring new employees cannot fill the vacuum in similar way as trained and culturally adapted employees. In depth study is required to understand and identify Talent management strategies as most effective tool for acquisition and controlling attrition/emigration in both rural as well as urban areas.