Provides background research and recommendations for implementing a health care delivery reform based on data-driven, evidence-based practices using data collected from interviews with healthcare workers, educators, and policymakers.

“This report…provides background research to support Rhode Island’s development of a healthcare workforce transformation strategy. It analyzes workforce and educational needs required to achieve the [t]riple [a]im of better care, smarter spending, and healthier people….

To define these needs and how to address them, [the authors] interviewed a cross-section of the state’s healthcare employers, educators, and policymakers about changes in healthcare payment and delivery and their impact on the workforce; the adoption of new roles and occupations critical to delivering better care; changes in skill and performance requirements; and the capacity of the state’s education and training entities to meet new health workforce needs” (p.7). More than 250 healthcare partners were engaged (p.4). “Data from Healthcare Workforce Transformation Committee meetings, interviews, and literature on health workforce transformation helped build a portrait of Rhode Island’s current health workforce landscape and potential strategies for the state to consider in achieving its transformation goals.

In order to translate…findings from interviews, literature, and meetings into actionable strategies and recommendations, [the authors] used the lens of `drivers of health system transformation’—or principles and concepts that can aid in achieving better care, smarter spending, and healthier people. The drivers of change include social determinants of health, value-based payments that reward quality outcomes; population health; data analytics; rebalancing delivery systems from high-cost institutional settings to home and community-based care; and access to high-quality primary care.

This research was complemented by analysis of labor market information on present and projected employment trends in key healthcare professional and support occupations, as well as vacancies and skills sought by employers. The analysis (presented in appendices and an occupational compendium) focuses in depth on occupations considered strategic to transforming Rhode Island’s health system, such as nurses, community health workers, and behavioral health professionals. The report also provides data (in appendices) on the number of graduates from the state’s public higher education health professional programs, and the employment of these graduates in the state and in the healthcare industry” (p.7).

(Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)

Major Findings & Recommendations

“Based on…research and analysis and on the discussions of the Healthcare Workforce Transformation Committee, [the authors] identified three key priorities and a number of accompanying strategies: 1. Build Healthcare Career Pathways to Develop Skills That Matter for Jobs That Pay Prepare Rhode Islanders from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds for existing and emerging good jobs and careers in healthcare through expanded career awareness, job training and education, and advancement opportunities. Strategies: • Support the Entry-Level Workforce: Improve recruitment, retention, and career advancement • Increase Diversity and Cultural Competence: Increase the cultural, ethnic, and linguistic diversity of licensed health professionals • Develop Youth Initiatives to Expand the Talent Pipeline: Increase healthcare career awareness, experiential learning opportunities, and readiness for health professional education • Address Provider Shortages: Remediate shortages among certain health professions. 2. Expand Home and Community-Based Care Increase the capacity of community-based providers to offer culturally competent care and services in the home and community, and reduce unnecessary utilization of high-cost institutional or specialty care. Strategies: • Expand Community-Based Health Professional Education: Educate and train health professional students to work in home and community-based settings • Prepare Healthcare Support Occupations for New and Emerging Roles: Prepare healthcare support occupations to work in home and community-based settings. 3. Teach Core Concepts of Health System and Practice Transformation Increase the capacity of the current and future workforce to understand and apply core concepts of health system and practice transformation. Strategies: • Prepare Current and Future Health Professionals to Practice Integrated, Team-Based Care: Increase the capacity of health professionals to integrate physical, behavioral, and oral health, and long-term care • Teach Health System Transformation Core Concepts: Educate the healthcare workforce about the significance of value-based payments, care management, social determinants of health, health equity, population health, and data analytics” (p.7-8). (Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)