Texas needs 10,000 new Health IT workers by 2013 if it’s going to meet its goal of implementing electronic health records in medical settings. That’s according to a report by the Department of Health Information Management at Texas State University – San Marcos.
Texas health organizations are primarily looking for professionals with experience in privacy and security, project management, data management, data mining and data analytics. Data management is the real hot button, with 31 percent of respondents saying they need to add data management specialists, while 26 percent are seeking data management training for their staff.
Texas is scrambling because it originally anticipated needing 3,500 new Health IT workers between 2010 and 2015. But the report’s authors interviewed 94 healthcare employers about the competencies they require, the vacancies they had in 2011, their current number of Health IT professionals and the number of additional employees they expect to hire in 2013. The conclusion: Thousands more are needed.
“What happens today when you can’t find the trained person you are seeking? You punt,” said Susan Fenton, assistant professor and Texas HIT workforce project director. “Many people will train from inside, either on the job or by sending them back to school. Some may do without, which is very concerning when you start considering some of the potential adverse unintended consequences if Health IT is not implemented correctly.”
The barriers organizations face in attempting to hire these professionals include finding qualified candidates, retaining staff in a competitive market, lacking a well-defined Health IT career ladder, and paying the high cost of qualified consultants.