4 ways healthcare leaders can manage expertise

Healthcare facilities, like all organizations, experience a brain drain when highly trained employees retire. But there are steps industry leaders can take to lessen the blow of losing their brightest minds, according to a Hospitals & Health Networks Daily (H&HN) article.

The healthcare industry often takes a passive stance toward managing expertise, the article notes, adding that "training events focus on how to manage tasks and information systems while seasoned experts walk out the door." To combat this tendency, H&HN says, health leaders should learn from two sectors that have mastered expertise management--the utilities industry and the military. From their example and others, the article identifies four ways to maintain expertise:

  • Learn what you've got. Just like a football team has franchise players, healthcare organizations have "franchise experts" who are not only masters in their field but also are willing to improvise and go beyond what's required to boost the performance of the organization. It's vital to identify people who fit this model, the article says, because these are the people the organization will miss the most when they eventually retire.
  • Find out what they know. Go beyond the typical exit interview, employing "knowledge-elicitation techniques" such as observation, role playing, critiquing and using hypothetical situations to help departing experts pass on what they know and how they achieve excellence.
  • Speed things up. To accelerate the achievement of expertise in their workforce, leaders can implement a "mentoring culture" to not only promote learning from peers, but help people become better at it, H&HN writes. Other techniques to try include problem-solving and scenario-based training.
  • Show it off. Justify the time and money spent on expertise-management programs by coming up with a method to quantify the return on your investment. Wake Forest University, for example, tested its knowledge-retention programs and found they saved the institution hundreds of thousands of dollars, the article notes.

To learn more:
- read the article