Wednesday, November 02, 2011

I Think NEHTA Should Read This Closely. It Might Help Save on Staff Turnover Costs. Certainty On Other Matters Is Also Needed!

The following popped into view a few days ago and reminded me of the astonishing staff turn-over rates (28-30% per annum) that seem to prevail at NEHTA - according to the CEO as Senate Estimates a little while ago.

5 ways to attract the best health IT employees

October 27, 2011 | Michelle McNickle, Web Content Producer
Implementing the latest health IT is a challenge in and of itself, but having a competent team makes it that much easier. Fred Pennic, senior advisor with Aspen Advisors and author of the blog Healthcare IT Consultant, suggests five ways to attract the best health IT employees. 
1. Having a strong employer brand and culture. According to Pennic, top IT prospects are attracted to companies with a well-established and respected brand that also coincides with their own personal brand. "Employers must continue to establish and/or maintain a strong brand that will attract the best HIT talent,” he said. 
2. Creating a positive work environment. “All employees want to work and thrive in a positive working environment,” said Pennic. Not to mention, a healthy environment helps reduce employee turnover rate, while negative and destructive environments tend to upset employee morale. “[That] will motivate top HIT talent to leave for better opportunities,” he added. “Let’s face it, no one wants to work for a negative superior who never provides any positive feedback.” Ensuring top talent is rewarded and recognized for their accomplishments and efforts is also key, said Pennic. 
3. Offering career development opportunities. To retain the best IT employees, it’s essential employers continue to keep them engaged. “[This should be] what the employees feel is ‘meaningful work,’” said Pennic.
4. Ensuring flexibility.
5. Providing competitive compensation, incentives, and benefits.
More here:
It would seem to me that point number three needs to be looked at closely here. Feedback I get suggests that the combination of a drop dead date as of July, 2012 and a lack of early reassurance that an ongoing job will materialise must be weighing a little. Also the lack of any apparent progress on all sorts of fronts for a long while and now a mad rush with ‘tiger teams’ can’t be helping!
It is utterly incompetent on the part of NEHTA’s senior management and even more importantly the NEHTA Board to not have had this totally sorted long since.
There are over 200 people who work with NEHTA and it is fair to say they all deserve much greater clarity and consideration than is presently apparent.
A look here will show that COAG meetings (to get funds approval) seem now to be few and far between.
There was one in 2010 and so far 2 in 2011. With the last one at the end of August, 2011 and with the last Parliamentary Session happening this week (The Reps rise on Nov 24, 2011 with 3 extra days in the following week - if required - for the year) on wonders if they will all be waiting until the end of the ‘silly season’ for some clarity.
This is also, complicated by the fact that there is no funding for the PCEHR committed after a one microsecond go live on July, 1 2012. If the PCEHR folds where does that leave the associated NEHTA staff?
Everyone needs a great deal more clarity I would suggest!


Anonymous said...

The 'ground level' staff will be well gone before July 2012. The lack of any communication from senior management is driving them to look from now for new roles outside.

Anonymous said...

Those among us experienced in building sustainable businesses know that a high staff turnover rate is incompatible with an enthusiastic, happy, motivated, competent workforce which is essential to sustain a viable organisation.

What is evident today is a culmination of the cumulative effects of mismanagement over the last few years. The competent people will continue leaving. Those that remain will come to work one morning in the near future to find senior management have suddenly jumped ship leaving the veggies behind to fend for themselves. Game over.

Lagrimas de Luna said...

They do get it right on 3 out of 5. Remuneration is great, the staff are offered some very expensive training, and it is a flexible working environment. On the first two points there is less cause for celebration.
I don't believe that the senior management will find it as easy to jump ship as the junior staff might. You see, ex-employees are probably advising their employer to grab NEHTA techos with both hands, but to tell anyone who served above middle management to apply elsewhere. Qld Health, perhaps?
Unfortunately the good ol' boys from the Sydney office will be offered golden life rafts by their mates in other bureaucracies. How they can hide their role in this monstrous debacle from potential private sector employers remains to be seen.

Anonymous said...

"How they can hide their role in this monstrous debacle from ..... "

They won't be able to hide their role unless they can redirect focus and blame elsewhere.

Minister Roxon's blind spots provide them with that opportunity. She remains blind to what is happening. She doesn't read blogs like this one because she doesn't want to hear negative chatter even if it is all true. She will steamroll ahead until the 'good ol' boys from the Sydney Office (as you so aptly describe them) lead her over the cliff and wave her goodbye.

Her minders may well know what is going on although they will hide it from her as long as they can. Best to keep the Minister in the dark.

Once the Minister gets the message her Departmental Head will start looking for someone to blame! John Cleese couldn't have written a better script if he'd tried.

Anonymous said...

I actually think there must be someone who really hates Roxon in the department at a senior level.

There can be no other reason for the advice she is getting

Even the catastrophic outage Health suffered last week hasn't given them pause for thought over what they're trying to do across the entire health sector.

They blamed IBM for the systems failure - who will they blame for knocking out the nation's hospitals and medical practice systems next July?

I hear Health has been stubbornly refusing to update its ancient mainframe systems, meaning everything has to be retrofitted adding to the existing complexity while there's limited access to people who have such old skill sets (not to mention ability to recall all the previous workarounds)

Does this ring any warning bells?

Does anyone think the state health systems are in any better shape than the federal department's 10yo infrastructure?

Anonymous said...

I think it's pretty well all too late. The fallout will be catastrophic for some, particularly the smaller highly skilled ehealth developers who have long awaited recognition and support to be forthcoming from NEHTA and DOHA only to be repeatedly disappointed as tens of millions of dollars get siphoned off to a few big vendors and consulting firms.

The MSIAs President Geoffrey Sayer summed it up in his excellent article "Procurement responsibility" in the July edition of Pulse+IT when he said:

"Many of the medical software businesses in this country are running on empty. These companies have already developed the capabilities that are now being sought through various tenders and PCEHR waves."

Why this extensive resource has been so blatantly sidelined is not readily apparent. The cost of this stupidity will however be readily apparent very soon.