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If you are a leader of a healthcare organization, then you may have a looming problem. And, it’s one you might not be thinking about yet. It’s not with your medical staff, nor the recent demands and transitions to telemedicine and meeting ever-changing industry regulations, nor even the rising costs of care. “This is one of our most difficult challenges moving forward,” says Russ Branzell, CHIME Chief Executive Officer. “And we have lots of challenges in healthcare … It’s the blind spot that we don’t know is coming.” Organizations are looking for talent.

So, that looming problem – it’s actually a pending (and maybe even current) labor war.  Industries across the United States face talent transition challenges as baby boomers retire, technology evolves, and a significant gap in the available talent emerges. For healthcare, the problem of attracting and retaining a skilled digital health workforce is even worse. The plain truth: many IT departments are short on incoming talent, and the available talent in other sectors is ill-prepared to serve in the healthcare industry.

Healthcare organizations typically approach this problem with one of two solutions. They can either hire the already experienced and highly trained talent, which is the most expensive option, or they can find new talent to train, which becomes an internal burden, and can be costly and risky. Neither are good options.

There is a better way to source healthcare IT talent that builds a talent pipeline for organizations without all of the burdens and mutually supports rising talent in a diverse subset of skilled people. It’s called Optimum CareerPath™ (OCP).

CareerPath is Optimum’s program to recruit, train, and place high-aptitude, entry-level healthcare IT staff. OCP partners with local universities and healthcare organizations to recruit the best and brightest talent for your organization. Candidates go through a rigorous assessment with a focus on personality, potential, and aptitude. Once we identify the right talent, we hire them as Optimum full-time employees and begin training.

Participants go through an intensive 12-week training program, co-developed with CHIME, that introduces them to healthcare IT and healthcare delivery concepts. At the end of the program, participants gain certification in a key technology.

Russ Branzell explains how CHIME designed the Digital Health Program: “What we were hearing was we had great education programs for mid-level management and execs, but we lacked training for entry-level. So, we asked the leaders in healthcare, what would you want [a new candidate’s] entry-level knowledge to be? We now have a curriculum. And, it’s intensive!”

Geoff Blanding, Executive Vice President of Optimum CareerPath & Implementation Services, describes the solution as a “win-win. It’s a purpose-built, healthcare IT-focused recruiting, training, the pipeline of talent.” Once OCP participants transition to full-time positions at healthcare organizations, they continue to receive mentorship from Optimum staff, promoting their long-term success.

Historically, talented individuals at the beginning of their career have lacked a clear pathway into healthcare IT. OCP bridges that gap by finding talented individuals and training them to be highly successful in the healthcare industry. This kind of talent “sourcing” is not about marketing to find the right talent but growing capable, skill-ready talent from the bottom up.

The success of OCP goes beyond filling entry-level IT roles. Based on the makeup of Optimum’s first two OCP classes, there is a real opportunity to train and develop a diverse group of new IT professionals. From a pool of 6,000 applicants, we selected 35 people for three different technical tracks. Optimum’s first OCP class was 57% minority and 34% female.

“By leveraging our CHIME University programs, we have an opportunity to make a difference in Diversity and Inclusion,” says Russ Branzell. “We have the chance to bring motivated people into our industry and give them a fighting chance.” Geoff Blanding elaborates, “Through OCP, we are resolving those talent challenges, lowering the cost of recruiting, and creating digital health training at scale. We help identify the right candidates, and you get a candidate with a long, fulfilling career ahead of them.”

Optimum’s first OCP class graduated in April of 2021. Clients are praising the program’s results, highlighting their new staff’s flexibility, dedication, and speed to contribute to the team.

Ready to de-risk your IT hiring, reduce HR costs, and source your organization with skilled, ready employees? Talk to your Optimum Client Services rep today about how Optimum CareerPath can impact your organization, or click here to contact us.

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