The Michigan Health Council (MHC) is working to supplement the state’s healthcare workforce by expanding clinical training capacity and other new initiatives.
MHC is a nonprofit organization that creates products and provides services to help healthcare professionals build workforce capacity. It works with professionals, educators, and students through various programs in the education-to-practice continuum.
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MHC Vice President and COO Craig Donahue and MHC Director of Business Development and Strategic Partnerships Stacy Gradowski discussed those efforts with State of Reform. Gradowski said MHC’s ACEMAPP Collaboration platform allows healthcare professionals, educators, administrators, and students to streamline the clinical education process.
“We started working with health systems in greater Detroit to bring in more nursing professionals 15 years ago when hospitals didn’t know how many students were coming [into the field],” Gradowski said. “The software utilizes an onboarding system. Most health systems that come to us don’t know what their capacity is, so the software allows them to do that.”
ACEMAPP allows health professionals to connect with partner institutions, schedule rotations, track learner compliance, and onboard students on one platform. The ACEMAPP team helps participants complete a needs assessment, establish an online onboarding process, develop an implementation timeline, and communicate with partner schools. Those interested in the technology can schedule a demonstration by contacting [email protected].
ACEMAPP utilizes a broadcast messaging system, which was especially useful during the COVID-19 pandemic, Donahue said.
“We have an awesome broadcast messaging system,” Donahue said. “Notifications happen immediately to let students know what’s happening. Our schools and hospitals need to share information quickly, so we responded to that right away. The software has been in place for seven or eight years, and we have been improving it over time.”
The pandemic drew attention to workforce shortages and crises that have existed for years, Donahue said.
“On the education side, there’s a shortage of faculty and resources,” he said. “On the health system side, they’re competing with each other for resources. There’s a lot of desperation in the system as a whole. Looking on the bright side, COVID forced people to do something different. That can be seen in part by strategic plans, because staffing hospitals became a crisis. It’s a focusing event (that) forced us to do something about it, and hopefully that will sustain.”
MHC also recently rolled out its Next Generation Health Careers Academy. The program aims to supplement the healthcare sector through events, activities, videos, and resources by tying what students learn in the classroom to healthcare careers. Each resource helps prepare K-12 students for postsecondary education while highlighting healthcare career pathways.
“It’s about exposing younger generations to healthcare, and urging them to consider that early on in the pipeline as a career choice,” Donahue said. “It drives the pipeline upstream. We have also run a Students of America program for decades, which exposes students to various areas in healthcare, and is a long-standing program that serves the education side.”
MHC is also making plans to launch the Solutions Collaborative with support from the Michigan Health Endowment Fund. The collaborative’s initial products/services will include:
- Data with current and projected shortages by profession, geographic area, and site-of-care
- Inventory with a database of existing workforce activities and solutions
- A blueprint plan for action on stakeholder priorities
- Brief updates for implementation steps and resources required to execute the plan
“The Solutions Collaborative is supply-and-demand data on various health professions so we can repair gaps, supply initiatives, and share best practices to apply resources in a more effective way,” Donahue said.
The greatest challenge to supplementing Michigan’s healthcare workforce is a lack of educators, Gradowski said.
“There might be enough space to facilitate training, but if there is a lack of educators, you can’t support the workforce,” Gradowski said.