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Related Expertise: Health Care Payers, Providers, Systems & Services, Health Care Industry

Managing Work and the Workforce in Health Care’s New Reality

The pandemic put the health care sector on a roller coaster, and as the post-COVID new reality starts to take shape, the unpredictable ride is far from over. Hospitals and health systems continue to battle on the front lines, and stress and burnout (emotional and physical) are taking their toll. As employees grapple with unrelenting pressures, many are rethinking jobs, careers, and purpose. At the same time, hospitals are adapting and making changes to care delivery and business and operations that will outlast the immediate impact of the crisis. For industry executives, the macro issue of affordability has not gone away. Increases in labor and procurement costs exacerbate the problem.

While the near-term challenges are most acute for providers, they also have important implications for other players. For example, the need to build data, digital, and analytics capabilities, which was a necessity before COVID, has not ebbed. Indeed, it has become more pressing for organizations across the health care sector. But health care organizations also find themselves competing for technical talent with virtually every other industry, including the technology sector, which can pay more than all but the largest health care players. In addition, payers (as well as providers) are competing for talent not only with other health care incumbents but also with new, well-funded venture and private-equity-backed health care services companies.

Some of these changes were started, and others accelerated, by COVID, but all promise more twists and turns. Among the more significant are the following:

  • Unprecedented levels of funding
  • Alternative channels of care delivery
  • Loosened policy and regulatory requirements
  • New partnerships and collaborations
  • The accelerated speed of experimentation
  • More available data and better sharing of know-how and lessons learned
  • An enhanced focus on social responsibility and protecting vulnerable populations

In addition, as patients’ needs and the delivery of care become more differentiated, personalized, and virtualized, the industry is expected to respond with new solutions and to innovate more quickly. As health care executives think through how their organizations will work in the future, they must balance two priorities: managing the operational challenges of the near term and investing in innovative organization and talent models that can address patients’ and employees’ changing needs.

It’s a lot for leaders to get their heads around. To help, we’ve selected a number of articles on the broad issue of work and the workplace that have relevance for the battery of challenges facing the health care sector. The first examines the new reality taking shape and the five big trends affecting players across the sector: providers, payers, pharma companies, and medtech suppliers. We then look at five aspects of organizational needs that will shape the future:

  • The Future of Work. New working models to promote employee well-being and drive better outcomes for patients.
  • Smart Simplicity. Combatting the increasing complexity of the provider delivery system.
  • The Bionic Organization. How human skills and technological capabilities can work together to improve care and relieve labor pressures.
  • Skills and Talent. The evolving needs of organizations and the degree to which supply and demand imbalances exist.
  • Resilience and Reinvention. Catalyzing change in the industry—such as shifting sites of care, wider adoption of telemedicine, the growing use of digital solutions and artificial intelligence—for the benefit of patients and workers.

The Future of Work

The How-To of Hybrid Work - Rectangle

The How-To of Hybrid Work

A systematic approach to postpandemic ways of working can capture the upsides of these models while mitigating the risks.

Smart Simplicity

The Bionic Health Care Organization

Systems Thinking Powers Bionic Success

Systems Thinking Powers Bionic Success

Why do digital natives grow into the world’s most valuable companies seemingly overnight while the world’s largest legacy companies achieve only incremental digital progress?

Skills and Talent

The Future of Jobs in the Era of AI - Rectangle

The Future of Jobs in the Era of AI

An in-depth analysis of the US, Germany, and Australia shows how technology will disrupt labor markets by 2030—displacing millions of workers but creating new opportunities as well.

Resilience and Reinvention

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Building a Resilient Government

The pandemic won’t be the last global crisis we face. Here are six principles public sector organizations should follow to prepare for future disruptions.

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