Improving healthcare workforce planning and development is a critical component of the Accountable Care Act, and Keckley says it's needed because labor costs are a huge driver of healthcare inflation.
One out of three respondents in the HealthLeaders Industry 2011 Survey cited labor costs as the top driver healthcare costs.
"The simple reason is that with 60% of the healthcare spend on payroll, compensation, labor costs, and with healthcare growing at 6% a year, you have to find better ways of reducing costs and the single biggest factor in healthcare is labor," he says.
"We have to find different ways to organized and train the workforce. We have to leverage technology to do things that technology does that today people might be doing. We have to recognize that the system, its incentives, its regulatory framework, the information we now have tells us there are better ways of doing things than having people show up in doctors' offices or have tests or procedures. The future is not a repeat of the past."
While identifying the problem may be relatively easy, Keckley says that fixing it could prove nettlesome. "Each profession has developed over the years its own methodology for determining supply and calculating demand," he explains. "Unfortunately those are not consistent across the professions. So we are finding it challenging to arrive at a common methodology for calculating demand."