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Talent upgradation: The need of the hour

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Ranjan Pandey, Sr Vice President, Human Resources, Fortis Healthcare speaks about the job trends in healthcare in times to come

Unlike other sectors, healthcare is relatively new and growing at a CAGR of 17 per cent during 2016 – 2022 to reach $ 372 billion from $ 10 billion. If an industry is growing at this rate, there is bound to be expansion and requirement of talent. The sector currently employs 319780 employees and is the fourth largest employer. About 100,000 jobs are expected to be created under Ayushman Bharat, the National health assurance scheme initiated by the current Government.

Job trends in future

The doctor to patient ratio in India is pretty low as compared to developed countries. We will need 2.07 million more doctors by 2030 to have the WHO recommended doctor to population ratio of 1: 1000. We will also need more nurses, paramedics and other healthcare professionals. With hospitals coming up at the current pace, we will also need healthcare administrators for running them.

There is going to be a lot of emphasis on digitalisation in this sector. Telemedicine has huge potential in taking healthcare to rural areas. The area around patient medical records is going to see a lot of changes. At present, the healthcare sector is the fourth largest employer in India and is expected to grow at a similar pace. Rising incomes, greater health awareness, lifestyle-related diseases and increasing access to insurance will contribute to growth.

There will be major changes in the healthcare job market. This will mean:

  • More categorisation in specialities.
  • The doctors’ focus should move more towards preventive healthcare, the basic doctor responsibilities should move to specialised nurses and technicians. But in order to sustain this model, we need bridge courses for enabling medical personnel to prescribe to the requirements and perform basic clinical jobs.
  • Retention and new career paths for nurses and paramedics –  at present nurses are largely treated as support staff. We need newer norms under the medical council to enable them to take on doctor’s responsibilities as physician assistant, nursing practitioner and nursing anaesthetist.
  • Better infrastructure for quality education in medical and nursing institutes.
  • The focus should also be reverse brain drain .i.e. bringing back India-origin medical talent working outside of India

Areas that will see a great demand

There is a paradigm shift in how healthcare was viewed 10 years ago vs, how it is perceived now. As per the India State-Level Disease Burden report, India faces a double whammy on the disease front: lifestyle or non-communicable diseases that are the bane of the rich world, as well as communicable diseases of the developing world, hence we are witnessing a demand surge for specialisation in cardiology, physiology, oncology, urology, geriatric and orthopaedics. Also, our society has become more aware as compared to a decade ago. It is recognising the importance of super specialities instead of visiting the general physician next door for specific ailments. Skilled nursing talent will also be in great demand.

Skills for the future

Future healthcare workforce should be able to adapt to the latest technological advancements such as robotics, AI, cognitive skills and there is a critical need for medical data analysts who can help in predictive assessment in the medical domain. The healthcare sector with its immense growth plans will need talent with multiple skills, the primary ones being bachelor of medicine and surgery and higher specialisation in medicine. For nurses, basic courses in nursing will be a pre-requisite. Apart from these we would need paramedics, technicians, engineering personnel and administrative staff on the operational front at hospitals. The Government of India is working towards improving the doctor population ratio and has added over 5,800 PG seats in government medical colleges in calendar year 2017. Under the Union Budget 2018-19, the government has allocated Rs 452.25 crore ($ 69.86 million) for the upgradation of state government medical colleges (PG seats) at the district hospitals, Rs 794.07 crore ($ 122.66 million) for government medical colleges (UG seats) and government health institutions.

Organisations of the future

At present, we are not amply prepared for the workforce change requirements. The shortage of productive manpower is a situation that persists and will continue in future as well. It’s about time that talent assessment and technology should work in partnership to improve efficiency instead of working in isolation. The focus should be on combining man and machine. It will not only be more productive but a more efficient way of better patient care.

The focus should also be on improving educational infrastructure and investments in training and development. At present, the organisation is not spending enough on T&D programmes. Also, as per the Deloitte Human Capital Trend Report for 2017, healthcare organisations plan to make significant progress in adopting cognitive and artificial intelligence in the next three to five years.

Organisations in future will need to do the following:

  • Invest in education – by providing financial education assistance for low income groups, specifically nurses and technicians
  • Introduce benefits such as sabbatical leave for higher education
  • Provide learning and growth opportunities within and outside of the organisation
  • Create a safe atmosphere to work for medical staff
  • Technology enhancement
  • Lastly, competitive pay

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