Empowering younger healthcare professionals by creating the ideal working environment

Written By Ashwin Chari, country manager, Philips Philippines

As societies continue to progress and develop across the world, the responsibility of caring for the elderly is increasingly going to younger healthcare professionals (HCPs) and healthcare leaders. As they navigate their way through their chosen profession, younger HCPs bring with them new expectations, prompting leaders in the field to re-evaluate their organizational structures as well as their best practices.

However, the demands of the workplace are always evolving. With technology being a key agent of change in terms of transforming health systems, the digitization of healthcare across the globe is an ongoing process. In the Philippines, the digitization of health systems has begun with the rise of telehealth and other solutions geared to offer value-based care. As a nation with a high rate of digital literacy and mobile adoption, telehealth services have enjoyed a steady rise in country, even before the onset of COVID-19[1]. But as the pandemic continues to affect the nation, there is a limit to how telehealth services can provide treatment.

Philippine HCPs are tasked to address the challenge of providing treatment on top of the issues and struggles they face. There is also a need for the development of digital infrastructure[2]. Public investment in digital infrastructure complemented with the right partnerships with the private sector and healthcare stakeholders is the whole-of-society approach we need to overcome our health crisis. With younger HCPs playing a more prominent role more than ever in a field that grows more demanding, is there a way to provide the means for them to transform healthcare for the better?

Recently, Philips released the Future Health Index (FHI) 2020 report entitled, “The Age of Opportunity: Empowering The Next Generation to Transform Healthcare”. While the report’s findings established data and technology as important factors in building healthcare systems robust enough to deliver value-based care, the report also emphasized the importance of younger HCPs by stressing the need for organizations to create ideal workplace environments for them to contribute their skills to the best of their abilities.

In order to do so, technology and data must come together with culture. Younger HCPs seek opportunities not only in terms of applying and further developing their skills, but also in ways of making their voices heard – both in the decision-making process and in the operational side of medical practice. While advancements in technology are always important, they are always placed in the hands of engaged and empowered HCPs to provide patients nothing less but the best possible care.

For younger HCPs, the ideal working environment is one founded on culture, collaboration, and empowerment. However, there are four factors that must be in play to bring this about.

Committed Careers

The FHI 2020 study reported that despite high patient numbers and workplace challenges, younger HCPs are still highly engaged and dedicated. Locally, HCPs operate within a health system that has important areas to address especially in terms of national organization and financing[3]. However, the availability of technology can play a key role in sustaining the dedication of our local providers.

Based on a survey of HCPs across Asia Pacific, many of them believe that the right technology coupled with proper training can help in reducing work-related stress. This shows the importance of technology and education as key in the advancement of the medical field – thus, keeping HCPs engaged with the task of providing care.

Supportive Workforce

In choosing where to work, younger HCPs value a collaborative organizational culture that features a balance between placing value on having the latest technology while allowing HCPs professional autonomy. While access to technological resources is vital in providing more accurate diagnoses and personalized care, providing HCPs with flexible working arrangements can positively impact both their clinical performance and overall work-life balance as well.

Engaging the Workforce

Advances in medical technology excite younger HCPs and enhance their personal satisfaction in terms of their careers. However, the FHI 2020 study showed that there is a sizable number of medical professionals who feel that their education did not sufficiently train them in the aspects of data analysis and interpretation. In terms of the Philippine setting, the lack of data sharing technologies prevents both care providers and patients with the ability to effectively navigate the healthcare system by reducing waiting times, preventing procedure duplications, and improving the overall course of treatment[4].

The ideal workplace places importance on continued education and training, especially in terms of technology and data. Investment in data sharing platforms is vital for HCPs to stay engaged, efficient, and remain on the pulse of a medical field that continuously moves towards digitization.

Lowering Internal Barriers

Many younger HCPs believe in their abilities to create change within the organizations they belong to. Despite this, many of them feel a lack of interest in their suggestions and views, leaving them less empowered in their roles. In the Philippines, this is coupled with other factors such as the uneven distribution of medical technologies across the archipelago[5], and the lack of employment opportunities leading to “brain drain”[6].

In order to address this, organizations must become pro-active in creating change both internally and on a national level. Leaders and policy makers must examine their decision-making processes and recalibrate them to become more inclusive towards younger HCPs. By providing a platform for them and the perspectives that they bring to table, an organization empowers younger HCPs to fully embrace their roles as future leaders of the field.

In today’s setting, despite the onset of COVID-19, significant strides have been made in terms of the digitalization of healthcare. While data and technology always play a key role in plotting a course towards the future of medical care, more than ever, it’s up to the workforce of younger HCPs to bring us there. The Philippines has the potential to vastly improve its healthcare services. By investing in technology and developing the competencies of our care providers, we can make great strides towards providing value-based care for all who need it – wherever they may be in the country.

The findings from the FHI 2020 report highlight key areas for healthcare leaders and policy makers to address not only in terms of knowledge and skills, but also in terms of the environments in which our care providers operate in. By creating workplaces that feature state-of-the-art technology while providing inclusivity for all those within the organization to share their views, the pathways are laid out for healthcare providers to maximize their potential, enjoy fulfilling careers, and positively impact the goal of the healthcare profession: to improve a patient’s quality of life across the board, from hospital to home.

[1] https://www.manilatimes.net/2020/10/25/business/sunday-business-i-t/mainstreaming-telemedicine-in-the-philippines/785242/

[2] https://businessmirror.com.ph/2020/07/30/group-pushes-digital-transformation-of-health-care-sector-amid-pandemic/

[3] https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/274579/9789290226734-eng.pdf

[4] https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/274579/9789290226734-eng.pdf

[5] https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/274579/9789290226734-eng.pdf

[6] https://human-resources-health.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1478-4491-10-47

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