CEO Keys - 2023 Predictions
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, institutions of higher education around the world have shifted from hurried, emergency remote teaching to longer-term thinking and strategies around the role of online education for them, their employees, and their students.
Universities and higher education institutions have pondered countless questions including:
- What is next now that the pandemic has been stabilized and an end could be in sight?
- Have student behaviors changed over the past 3 years? And if so, how and are these changes permanent or transitory?
- Should we implement a permanent work-from-anywhere policy for our employees, require employees to return to the office, or offer a hybrid approach?
- What degrees, and in which fields, should we be focused on?
While preparing for a sustainable future, university administrative and academic leaders need to address these and other pressing questions while managing resources, costs, and budget challenges.
Universities are faced with making strategic choices on where they should be investing, where they need to partner with third-party subject matter experts to support these investments, and which initiatives they may need to stop or delay.
While there are many trends within higher education, for my 2023 predictions I’m focusing my ‘top 3’ on the healthcare field.
The remote diagnosis and treatment of patients by means of telecommunications technology is here to stay – and advancements in this area are happening rapidly.
According to a report from the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in October 2022, 37% of adults in the United States used telemedicine in the past 12 months.
The Australian Department of Health and Aged Care reported that over 100 million telehealth services were delivered to approximately 17 million Australians between March 2020 and March 2022.
More and more students in the healthcare field are learning via sophisticated remote technologies employed by universities and their partners.
The pandemic has also provided opportunities for great innovation, and educators have had to be agile and inventive in different placement models – including virtual placements that leverage telehealth to meet the demands of clinical education. AI and machine learning are also playing expanded roles in healthcare on the research and patient care sides.
Universities are going to have to account for this sea change and adapt their programming accordingly.
2. Education to Employment
Hospital and healthcare affiliates must develop additional “education to employment” pathways to recruit, educate, employ, or retain practice-ready professionals.
There have always been working relationships between universities (that educate current and future healthcare professionals) and the healthcare industry at large (that provide clinical experiences to these students). While these relationships provide mutual benefits, they are often more tactical than they are strategic, and there are meaningful gaps – that are especially acute in rural or disadvantaged areas.
Creating stronger, more strategic partnerships and program designs to facilitate practice-ready students will help bridge the gap with healthcare professional employee shortages. Both universities and hospitals, working together, have an immense responsibility to provide better care.
3. Online-Hybrid Formats
Emerging, complex degree programs in the healthcare field will transition more quickly to an online-hybrid format. These complex degree programs will be in fields such as Occupational Therapy, Pharmacy (PharmD), Speech Pathology, Mental Health, Pre-Licensure Nursing, and growing Social Services programs (e.g., social work, counseling, psychology).
One of the outcomes of everything ‘going online’ during the pandemic is that we had to figure out how to make programs previously not deemed appropriate for an online format work. As the saying goes, “necessity is the mother of invention.”
The need to move to an online format during the pandemic opened people’s eyes to the fact that these complex programs (or substantial portions of them) can indeed be delivered in an online-hybrid format without sacrificing quality learning and outcomes.
As I said at the start, given the criticality of healthcare education (particularly in a post-pandemic world) I’ve opted to stay in that lane for my 2023 predictions.
But there are many other exciting trends in higher education to watch – including stackable credentials, degree alternatives, globalizing online learning, and learning technology (with Metaverse and AI helping the overall student experience).
At Keypath we are dedicated to transforming education - to transform the world. Partnering with universities across the globe, we are working to help to close the gap on major skills shortages that have a significant social and economic impact.
To become a Keypather and make an impact every day, look at our career opportunities here.
Be safe and be well.
Steve Fireng, Global CEO