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ATD Blog

What’s Happening in Healthcare Talent Development

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Hi, folks! My name is Niranjani and I recently joined ATD as a project manager. I oversee ATD’s healthcare division, producing content and resources for training development and improvement. As we expand our footprint in healthcare, my goal is to develop a framework for topic areas and training methodologies and efficiently produce content for health systems across the nation.

Brief Background and Quick Facts

As quoted in ATD’s most recent State of the Industry report, the healthcare industry currently spends an annual average of $600 in direct learning expenditure per employee.* Within provider health systems specifically, acute care hospitals spent a higher average of $665 per employee,** while non-acute care facilities spent a lower average of $554 per employee.*** Furthermore, the average amount of time spent for learning and training annually is only 23.8 hours per employee.

Digging deeper into priorities within the industry, the primary focus areas are executive development, mandatory and compliance training, and processes and procedures. More than 50 percent of formal learning is done in instructor-led (in-person) settings—as opposed to virtual settings, self-paced tutorials, or other forms of technology (such as CD-ROMs, videos, or even printed materials).

Insight From Subject Matter Experts

While rebuilding our approach, we consulted trusted SMEs within the industry for their wisdom on training methodologies and current topics that lack resources. They provided first-hand insights, based on working with HR departments, executive leaders, and different branches within health systems.

Yon Sugiharto, director of learning and development at Yale Medicine, discussed the need for resources addressing change management. “The healthcare industry continues to evolve and change at a rapid pace, and executives need training on how to manage change, work and improve in changing environments, and learn to become more adaptable and flexible,” Yon explained.


Christina Barss echoed the need for resources for specific topic areas, including interpersonal skills. While communication is a current priority in healthcare trainings, interpersonal skills aren’t. Most current communication is about mandatory policies and procedures, with less focus on building relationships and interacting with patients and families. Christina stressed the importance of “physicians needing to build business acumen and EQ and empathy to improve patient experience and interactions.” This also ties into ongoing shifts to value-based care within health systems.

Mack and Ria Story and Jacque Burandt offered their creative insights on themes for a structure. Mack, Ria, and Jacque each emphasized the importance of ATD’s talent development expertise within the healthcare sphere, by highlighting key competencies for transformation to empower and inspire healthcare leaders to take action.

Our Blueprint

By incorporating our research and advice from SMEs, we are creating a healthcare learning model to produce targeted content and serve as an effective resource in the industry. We aim to marry training methodologies (such as measurement and evaluation, learning and development, and instructional design) with specific topics (such as change management, interpersonal skills, digital transformation, and leadership management). Our foundational theme will be called TRIAGE: talent development, resources, ideas, analysis, groups, and experts. We aim to create resonating content that addresses hot topics with solutions for how to better train healthcare executives, doctors and nurses, and nonclinical employees.


Thoughts? Comments? Ideas? Please share!

We’d love to receive feedback on the ideas highlighted above or hear about any other ideas you have for the healthcare industry! If you’d be interested in writing a blog, hosting a webcast, or serving as a SME, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at [email protected]

*Direct learning is defined as internal services, outsourced activities, and tuition reimbursement.

**Acute care hospitals are defined as those equipped with the personnel, technology, and infrastructure to diagnose and deliver treatment for a wide variety of severe illnesses and injuries.

***Non-acute facilities are defined as those primarily providing services including home health agency, hospice, skilled nursing facility, ambulatory and outpatient care, residential or nonresidential services for individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities, inpatient behavioral health family, or outpatient behavioral healthcare.

About the Author

Niranjani Chidamber Papavaritis is the Head of Content for ATD's healthcare and government industry verticals, and the Manager for ATD's global conferences and strategy. In her role, she is responsible for content and product development, partnering with SMEs and executives to create a suite of training resources through blogs, magazine articles, webinars, books, and events. Prior to working at ATD, Niranjani served as a business development advisor at Optum (under UnitedHealth Group). Her specialities include healthcare management, organizational development, business development, and content strategy. Niranjani received a degree in political science and information systems from UMBC, in Baltimore, Maryland.

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I would very much like to see progress in this area. As someone transitioning from a practicing nurse (RN) into talent management and organization development I can give some very strong feedback on using the acronym TRIAGE. Because of a shortage of qualified talent, a lack of understanding of healthcare talent by HR, and an exodus of Baby Boomers there are some very harsh challenges coming to the healthcare sector. I await with interest on your insights.
Hi Jeff, thank you for sharing! I'd love to hear any feedback you may have; please feel free to send me an email and we can connect. [email protected]
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So excited to see this rolling out so beautifully. Welcome aboard to Naranjani and looking forward to working on the foundation and blueprint for TRIAGE. Let's fast track it!
Thanks so much Jacque! We're looking forward to building this out and working together!
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