As healthcare focuses on the path to value, an emphasis is often placed on innovation, infrastructure and technology. While those strategies are essential to advance healthcare, workforce development— particularly healthcare quality competencies needed to deliver higher quality and more value—is often an unrecognized and unmet need.
Unleash the potential of your quality workforce
Reducing variability in healthcare delivery means reducing variability in healthcare quality competencies
SM: The U.S. health system lacks agreement on a single set of competency standards that would give quality professionals the skills, tools, and methods to spearhead quality-driven healthcare. Instead, individual healthcare organizations, including hospitals and health systems, have created their own quality standards and approaches, with just-in-time staffing solutions, creating a surge of new quality roles, including healthcare data analysts, population health directors, vice presidents of quality, and chief quality officers, to name a few. While the roles share a common goal to improve quality, the competency standards and expectations of these positions are highly variable both within and across healthcare organizations. And, with rare exceptions, on-the-job training has been the dominant strategy to train the quality workforce.
SM: It is widely accepted that clinical competencies are required for the ‘front of the house of healthcare’—where delivery happens! The same has not been true for quality competencies leveraged by the ‘back of the house of healthcare’. These competency domains include:
- Health Data Analytics
- Patient Safety
- Performance and Process Improvement
- Population Health and Care Transitions
- Quality Leadership and Integration
- Quality Review and Accountability, and
- Regulatory and Accreditation
For best-in-class results that reduce variability in healthcare, both clinical and non-clinical healthcare quality competencies are essential.
SM: For twenty years, our industry has been focused on what we need to do to improve the quality of healthcare. Now, it is time to focus on how we improve the quality of healthcare. In 2018, NAHQ created and twice validated the Healthcare Quality Competency Framework which, for the first time, articulates the competencies needed for a high-performing healthcare quality workforce. The Framework identifies eight dimensions, 29 competencies, and 486 competency-based skill statements, stratified across foundational, proficient and advanced levels. The framework helped NAHQ develop new ways to support individual professional development. At the same time, healthcare leaders took notice and asked how they could use this at an enterprise level. They could see the utility of these workforce development tools to assess and upskill their quality workforce, and build capacity, on- scale. So, NAHQ developed Workforce Accelerator™, a three-phase, enterprise-level solution to help organizations assess their quality workforce and ensure their upskilling plans align both to an industry standard and organizational priorities.
SM: Professionals who work in quality are ready…because they live to improve; it is part of their ‘DNA’. Recent NAHQ research tells us that 84% of respondent quality professionals are happy at work. Why? Because they don’t see challenges as barriers, they see them as opportunities. Furthermore, they have told us that they feel more valued at work since the onset of COVID, with 51% saying they feel more valuable now than before the pandemic. We believe that is because the work of healthcare quality is in the spotlight like never before and leaders are increasingly recognizing the importance of these team members, and their positive attitude. Skill and will are what leaders need from their workforce; now is the time to pinpoint and address their upskilling needs and unleash their human potential to make healthcare better!
To learn more, please visit www.nahq.org/accelerator