Top 5 videos from HIMSS17

Top 5 videos from HIMSS17

Retiring Boomers spark workforce shift

Digital natives already presenting their own challenges
By Matt Schlossberg
04:48 PM
Illustration of health workers

The Baby Boomer generation is saying goodbye to the workplace. By 2030, 70 percent of the 77.3 million members of the Baby Boomer Generation (1946-1964) will be at or near retirement age, according to U.S. Census figures. 

When Boomers retire, what happens to the decades of industry knowledge they’ve acquired? How will the work environment change as an aging workforce is replaced with a younger population — one whose priorities, workflows and view of digital technology may be radically different? 

Judy Kirby, President of Kirby Partners, will explore the impact of this seismic shift in the healthcare workforce during her presentation Bye, Bye Boomers, at HIMSS15 as part of the Career Development and Diversity Track.

The immediate problem, she says, is the looming “brain drain.”

“You see these high-powered CIOs, for example, who have been the backbone of health IT for decades, retiring — and there’s a bit of a void,” she explains.

Many of these workers have extended their careers because of the Great Recession, which made mentoring the up-and-coming workforce a lower priority at many organizations such that “all that hard-won knowledge is walking out the door.”

Her presentation will address succession planning to ameliorate that brain drain, as well as ways to refine recruitment strategies to bring in new talent.

The session will also explore another challenge — that this emerging workforce, which was raised in a digital world, will fundamentally change the health IT landscape with a speed the industry is not exactly accustomed to.

“The Millennial Generation is the first to have been raised with digital technology. They’ve been exposed to it practically from infancy,” Kirby says. “Older generations, like the Boomers and Generation X, had to grow into it and sometimes still struggle with it.”

The healthcare industry has always been slow to adopt new technology. “The younger generation is not going to tolerate slow adoption of technology,” Kirby says. “Healthcare organizations are going to have to adapt to that changing culture — and adapt quickly.”

Kirby will deliver this presentation with Bert Reese, CIO, Sentara Health on Tuesday, April 14, from 4 pm-5 pm CST, in Room W196A of the McCormick Place Convention Center.

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