Northwell, Intermountain and other health systems launch alliance to support their beleaguered workforces

Half a dozen health systems have come together to form an alliance sharing best practices and other data around improving workforce diversity, well-being and engagement.

Called the Evolve Health Alliance, the program is an extension of workforce-focused collaborations struck by the member groups as they navigated the early days of pandemic disruption.

“Health systems around the country relied on each other’s expertise during the pandemic in ways we had not experienced before,” Maxine Carrington, senior vice president and chief people officer at Northwell Health as well as a co-chair of the new alliance, said in a statement. “We knew clinically that we were stronger together in advancing patient care, but we also recognized the benefit of collaborating with innovative and like-minded health systems to better prepare our workforces for the future.”

Alongside Northwell, the other five members of the alliance are Intermountain healthcare, AdventHealth, Atrium Health, Henry Ford Health System and OhioHealth.

As part of the “initial phase” of their information sharing, the members said they will be swapping initiatives for employee well-being and collaborations to improve diversity and inclusion programs along with other analytics around human capital programs and operations.

Notably, the alliance also comes with ad hoc reciprocal agreements to support each other during any staffing emergencies—much like when Northwell and Intermountain deployed employees across the organizations during high-demand COVID-19 surges.

Finally, the systems said they would be collaborating on leadership development programs where clinical and nonclinical staff alike will travel to other organizations and participate in their skills development programming.

“Collaboration is key for health care systems to successfully adapt to changing conditions and prepare for the future,” Heather Brace, senior vice president and chief people officer of Intermountain Healthcare and a co-chair of Evolve Health Alliance, said in a statement. “We know this alliance will help us evolve policies, practices and initiatives that ultimately benefit our patients and the communities we serve.”

Shortages and burnout among the workforce have become the primary concerns of healthcare organizations through the pandemic. While providers have often been forced to tap pricey contract labor during surges to avoid service disruptions, many are taking a second look at benefits and support systems they hope will keep workers resilient and on the job.