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As the Workforce Landscape Changes, We Look Ahead and Adapt

By Eric Nordgren and David Marc, PhD, CHDA


There is no crystal ball that will tell us exactly what the future holds. The COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing changes to the workforce have illustrated that quite clearly. Working remotely became a necessity, then a standard, for many positions. Positions were cut and then rehired; jobseekers feasted on a buffet of options to move into more desirable roles.

As the saying goes, the only thing certain is change. How do we prepare for the next disruption? For starters, we can peek at trends that have been developing over the past few years through the lens of ongoing workforce and educational opportunities in order to plan a path forward. Unemployment is reaching levels comparable to before the pandemic, and anecdotal evidence suggests that employers are having greater challenges than ever finding qualified candidates for open positions. 

What does that mean for organizations and educational institutions within the health informatics and information management profession? A suggestion is to increase focus on collaboration in the pursuit of meeting workforce needs, retaining employees, and providing opportunities for ongoing professional development. Birth rates in the United States have been declining since 2007, which has led to a decline in the volume of upcoming traditional-age college students. Gen Z and beyond will not occupy the same volume in the workforce that previous generations held. 

If more employees are not coming, how do we meet the needs of a high-demand industry? Looking to improve efficiency is a possibility, but take this approach with caution in order to avoid overburdening current employees. One path forward may include collaboration between professional organizations, educational providers, and industry partners in order to provide specific upskilling. Options include:

  • Microcredentials or certificate-based programs
  • Degree pathways that create a combination of on-the-job training and didactic coursework as a pipeline for employee development
  • Ongoing conversation about competencies needed for industry success

By working together and using a solid base of data to inform our decisions, we can prepare for employer needs while providing health information and informatics professionals the opportunity to advance their knowledge and skills. Conversations at local, state, and national levels are necessary to spark this growth and evolution, which will empower members of the profession to continue gathering quality healthcare data and enabling excellent patient care.

Hear More from Eric and David at AHIMA22

Eric Nordgren and David Marc will present “Paving the Way for Future HIM Workforce Needs” on Monday, October 10, at 9:30 am at AHIMA22 Global Conference in Columbus, OH.

During their presentation, they will:

  • Examine the attributes, experience, and soft skills needed in the workforce for the industry’s future
  • Illustrate where the industry is headed and the career opportunities that exist
  • Describe ways that organizations can connect with early careerists to build meaningful relationships and meet future workforce needs

Eric Nordgren is Director of Educational Experiences and Development, College of St. Scholastica. David Marc, PhD, CHDA, is Associate Professor and Department Chair, College of St. Scholastica.

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