Shawn Wright| Crain’s Talent Report

Michigan’s health care sector continues to see growth through innovation.

New surgical technology, mobile device apps allowing patients to view their medical records, or sharing resources to get properly trained staff are all growing the health care industry’s job base.

“It’s something we’re always looking at to go to the next level,” said Linda Kruso, director of workforce planning at Beaumont Health System. “It’s about using technology to do things differently and better so patients get better care and access.”

Beaumont, for example, recently pioneered a technique that uses robotic surgery to remove cancerous kidney tumors in patients with only one kidney. Normally, such high risk procedures were relegated to open surgery. Doctors at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak have successfully performed tumor removal surgeries on at least seven patients with the minimally invasive technique. This, among many other technical innovations, are among those helping further medical care.

“(But) new technology doesn’t necessarily always drive the need for new talent,” Kruso said. “It’s just driving the competencies that are required for the people who do those jobs.”

One area that is increasing the need for talent is information technology (IT), another item high atop the list of innovations affecting health care. Health care IT encompasses electronic coding and billing systems and electronic medical records (EMR), among others.

“In IT, there are so many areas where it’s impacting the health care arena,” Kruso said. “If you look at the hospitals around here, if they don’t have electronic records, they are setting one up. This will drive the demand for more IT professionals who will know how to use it. IT is such a huge driver of change in our organization.”

Nearly 25 years ago, Henry Ford Health System was one of the first to begin using electronic patient records. The health organization is currently in the process of rolling out its revamped EMR program, which began in December 2012. One of the program’s items include MyChart, a secure online tool that offers Henry Ford Medical Group‘s patients a way to manage their health care.

“You can do pretty much everything on your mobile device through this app,” said Ajay Parikh, director of shared services and talent selection for Henry Ford. “You can request to refill prescriptions, look at your medical history when the reports are available, and lots of other different items. That’s one of the things that comes when we invest in new technology and leverage it. And it’s all about execution.”

Henry Ford has a goal to get 1 million MyChart app subscribers. In the first year, there have been about 100,000 people to sign up, he said. Other health providers are working on their own versions, too.

“That’s the future,” Parikh said. “With this Generation Y coming into the workforce, who do everything through their mobile apps, it’s important we keep them informed on what they need.”

In addition to helping health care patients stay up-to-date, there also is a program that’s gained traction to help the universities and community colleges communicate with the health care industry’s needs.

The Michigan Health Council along with Henry Ford, Beaumont, Oakwood Healthcare System, Trinity Health and other medical institutions have collaborated on the Alliance for Clinical Experience (ACE) to address clinical rotation shortages space for nursing students, physician assistants and nurse practitioners in Southeast Michigan hospitals. The system is a network of clinical site administrators, educators, policymakers, and clinical faculty to improve Michigan’s clinical rotation space.

“It’s an online placement and record-keeping system for students,” Kruso said. “The process allows for schools in the area to request placement for their students in the health systems, and for the health systems to accept the request or find another alternative for the students to get the clinical training and education they need.”

Other states such as Ohio, Indiana, Texas and Oregon, are using the system that Kruso said is looked upon as a vital innovation. The goal is to continue to expand across Michigan and the U.S.

“One of the key things for anyone in health care, or any walk of life, is that there are so many advances. You need to be able to take advantage of the changes that are going on,” Kruso said. “With our health care workforce, we’re looking for people who are on the path to continuous learning.”

Michigan’s health care sector continues to see growth through innovation.

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