Skills for success in a rapidly changing world

By Mark Casselman

The upside to working in a world of constant innovation like the one we are currently experiencing is a complete absence of professional ennui: who has time for complacency when every day brings announcements of new ventures, mergers, breakthroughs, and ideas. The downside? The structured career paths previous generations could count on are disappearing, and all five generations of professionals in today’s work force today must work both harder and smarter to keep up with and lead the pace of change.

In the Global Challenge Insight Report, “The Future of Jobs,” the World Economic Forum posits that 65 per cent of children entering school today may end up in jobs that haven’t yet been invented.[1] Researchers at Intuit Canada predict that freelancers, independent contractors, and on-demand workers will make up almost half the work force in Canada by 2020.[2]

The rapid pace of technology innovation has created a need for lifelong learning and skills improvement (“upskilling”). Foundational skills learned in school now only provide a launch platform – in fact, nearly half of the knowledge acquired during the first year of a four-year technical degree is obsolete by graduation day.[3] This culture shift means that organizations who make employee education and professional development a priority will find themselves with a competitive edge when it comes to attracting and retaining high-quality professional staff.

The trend toward upskilling and continuous learning will have a significant impact on all professionals working in rapidly changing industries enabled by information and technology like healthcare. In addition to staying flexible in the face of industry changes at the organizational level — e.g., new players, shifting mandates, evolving partnerships and governance structures — digital health professionals will need strong skill development support to succeed in constantly changing technical and regulatory environments.

At Digital Health Canada, we believe that a combined approach involving access to newly “incubated” knowledge in near real-time, combined with more traditional education and training programs is critical

We also believe that giving employees access to a variety of work settings and involving them in innovative projects early will help to recruit the best and brightest into health and digital health. Our industry, society, and country must engage and support the next generation of change makers to help drive transformation of our health system and services.

As a professional association, it is our mission to connect, inspire, and educate the digital health professionals contributing to the future of healthcare in Canada. Training, certification, and industry engagement for students and emerging professionals is a key aspect of the Digital Health Canada mandate. Throughout our 43 year history, we have grown, led, and evolved with the Canadian digital health and health IM/IT industry. We support the professional development needs of our members through a national certification program with exam preparation and training courses, study guides, and a professional skills matrix with related digital health job descriptions.

We are at the cusp of a very challenging time in health and healthcare delivery. Digital health is a crucial enabler of success for Canadians, both as recipients of healthcare services and as participants in a growing industry that requires a steady stream of talented graduates, new professional roles and skills, continuous innovation, and access to professional education and training resources to meet the demands and challenges head on. Let us know your plan to sharpen your skills and knowledge – and we can share what your peers and colleagues are doing to stay relevant and lead the way forward. Contact us at with your questions.