Healthcare workers are hardly immune from the threat of a jobless future as being explored in this week’s Emerging Issues Forum “Future Work” conference. But as one of speakers explains opportunities will remain available for humans in healthcare.

Ahead of the Institute for Emerging Issues event, WRAL TechWire sought analysis about how technology continues to disrupt the healthcare industry and what workers today and tomorrow can do to better prepare themselves for future jobs.

Reg Javier is associate manager of Boston-based Public Consulting Group. He will be speaking on Tuesday.

“Automated records have made file clerk jobs all but disappear,” Javier explained. “All across the professional continuum, healthcare now requires tech competency.

“Automated reporting tools are one example. It’s even impacting the role of surgeons. Robotic arms are able to perform surgeries without doctors even be in the hospital.”

There is a bright spot.

“[A]lthough technology will have long range implications, health remains a hands-on industry,” Javier noted. “It requires care and hand-holding for patients and families.”

Javier also pointed out that technology is helping providers meet a recurring need:

The lack of trained workers.

“Technology is not necessarily a short-term workforce threat, but will have a more gradual workforce impact,” he said.

“It is also having a constructive impact on the quality of the healthcare system, through better efficiency, and communications on issues such as recommendations, prescriptions, and best practices. Workers can now not only collaborate and coordinate better with one another, but communicate better with patients and families.

“Healthcare has also traditionally experienced worker shortages. Technology is now compensating through automation to fill these gaps.”

The advice

WRAL TechWire asked Javier what advice he would give to those wanting to work in healtchare.

“North Carolina has 23 workforce boards, designed to help workers plan their careers and improve their skills. Mandated to have business leaders comprise 51 percent of their board composition, these boards often study the regional economy and make projections on future occupations and openings.

“They also focus on helping individuals identify skillset gaps.

“Skillsets that are core to specific occupations may not change, but technology is still driving change. The good news is that since we’ve just emerged from one of the biggest recessions on record, job descriptions are now solid, generally accounting for new technological needs and past job cuts.

“The interview process represents a cornerstone of job success, which, in addition to analytical and critical thinking skills has created the need to have – and convey — a sub-skillset – soft skills, such as working in teams and team based environments, because jobs are increasingly not just about the hard skill fit, but about the organizational fit, about fitting into the particular culture of a workplace.

“Since workforce boards are federally mandated to have a board composition comprised of 51 percent of business professionals (according to the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2015, a follow up to the Workforce Investment Act of 1998), these regionally-based organizations can help workers understand both the regional economy they cover, and different local work environments.

“The Workforce Boards oversee the NCWorks sights throughout the state. NCWorks information can be found on the North Carolina Department of Commerce page of the North Carolina government website.”

Reg Javier bio:

Associate Manager, Public Consulting Group

Reg Javier brings over 25 years of experience in workforce development. Javier has led several efforts that transformed the entire One Stop service delivery system in San Diego. These efforts were launched as a response to the changing demands of both job seekers and business customers. Client services were transformed by launching an integrated service delivery model that functionally aligned staff and resources to create greater efficiencies, better and more effective services, and eliminate duplication of efforts. Javier also led the redesign of the entire business services function and structure for the San Diego Workforce Partnership. In this redesign, new objectives, strategies and expectations were developed and deployed. Policies and performance metrics as well as funding strategies were also restructured, paving the way for a successful Business Services Initiative.

Currently, Javier leads the workforce/economic development arm of Public Consulting Group, Inc., providing consulting services to state and local governments and other stakeholder groups. This practice includes policy development, operational practices, strategic visioning, system design and re-engineering, data intelligence/analysis, system/structural efficacy and thought leadership.

Fore more about the IEI forum, see: