For the first time in a decade, healthcare CIOs say that lack of staffing resources is the most significant roadblock to successful healthcare IT implementations. Twenty-one percent of 302 CIOs have that complaint, while only 14 percent say budgets are their biggest problem, according to a survey conducted by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS).
Kay Hix, vice president and CIO of Carillon Clinic in Roanoke, Va., said in an InformationWeek interview that healthcare providers are competing against vendors and high-paying consulting firms for top health IT talent. “We’re all trying to gravitate toward the same bucket of [staffing] resources.”
The issue is that there’s a race going on to hit government benchmarks in so-called Meaningful Use—proving that conversion to electronic medical records (EMR) is having tangible results—and ICD-10 coding, a new and highly complex recoding of medical records. Once healthcare systems hit these goals, they’re entitled to government subsidies, so the rush is on.
In fact, 38 percent of CIOs surveyed said that earning the federal incentive payments for achieving Meaningful Use was their top IT priority for the next two years, way ahead of any other option. “Federal incentives continue to drive IT decisions at healthcare organizations,” said Jennifer Horowitz, director of research at HIMSS Analytics, the research arm of the health IT trade group.
Making Meaningful Use goals could yield some hospitals up to $10 million or more, so having state-of-the-art EMR systems couldn’t be more urgent. Healthcare remains a vertical IT market where the demand for talent consistently outstrips supply, and the salaries reflect that fact.