Even before President Obama's healthcare reforms came into play, we were seeing the role of human resources growing (or expanding) within hospital operations. The view that HR is an orphan at board and senior management meetings has been mostly – but not completely -- rendered obsolete because senior managers have come to understand the usefulness and savings associated with effective recruiting and retention in an era of chronic workforce shortages.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act adds to HR's stature because of the provision that factors patient satisfaction into Medicare reimbursements. And most anyone with any experience in hospital management will tell you that patient satisfaction is impossible without employee engagement, and effective employee engagement is difficult without strong HR leadership.
For HR leaders who want to play a strategic role in hospital planning, a mere knowledge of their own areas of expertise is no longer sufficient, says Stephanie Drake, executive director of the American Society for Healthcare Human Resources Administration. With that in mind, ASHHRA has created the eLearning Network, a series of Web-based professional development courses built around five competencies. These courses will not only provide training in traditional HR areas like "people strategies" and "personnel leadership," but will also offer a broader perspective of hospital operations with a course on healthcare business knowledge.