Meaningfully Engaging the Workforce of Tomorrow in the Problems of Today

December 12th, 2018

Harvard Medical School Primary Care Review invites authors from across the world to provide their perspectives on issues affecting the field of primary care, health equity, resilience, and value. The author(s) of this article are not writing on behalf of HMS. All opinions expressed in this article are owned by the author(s).

Putting Care at the Center

Last week, hundreds of health professionals who work to improve care for people with complex needs gathered in Chicago for Putting Care at the Center, the third annual conference of the National Center for Complex Health and Social Needs. Through various workshops targeted at idea sharing and bridging sectors and disciplines, participants delved into complex care models developed across the country and explored opportunity for future innovation.

Meaningfully Engaging the Workforce of Tomorrow in the Problems of Today: Key Strategies to Train, Support and Retain

One workshop featured at the conference explored strategies for building a strong workforce to care for patients with complex medical and social needs. Workshop leaders, Greg Sawin, Jessica Aguilera-Steinert, and the Center for Primary Care's Director of Health Systems Transformation, Lindsay Hunt, delivered ideas for retaining the ‘traditional’ workforce while engaging new members.

 Session leaders discussed challenges between new and traditional roles, guiding principles for developing new roles and skills, and the future workforce necessary to move from healthcare to health. Complex care managers, patient resource coordinators, planned care coordinators, health coaches, patient navigators and community health workers are all examples of these roles. Workshop attendees learned new strategies to support staff engagement in the areas of complex care at their organization. Four structural supports required for successful integration were discussed:

  • Designing a program to support impact and inclusion
  • Ensuring organizational cultural reorientation
  • Building systems, staff and stakeholder engagement
  • Creating strategies for ongoing improvement

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