Staffing Issues Delay Healthcare IT Projects

Doctor with Tablet

Although the pace of hiring in healthcare IT remains consistent, employers still find their need for technology professionals is outpacing the availability of candidates, reports FierceHealthIT. In the second annual workforce survey by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), nearly 70 percent of respondents said a lack of qualified talent represented their greatest challenge in filling open positions.

Those staffing challenges are having a real impact on their work. More than a third of the survey’s respondents—35 percent—said staffing issues had forced them to put projects on hold, while 38 percent said there’d been other impacts.

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In an effort to more effectively fill health IT positions, HIMSS and the American Society for Healthcare Human Resources Administration (ASHHRA) announced plans to collaborate to attract job seekers into the industry, reports InformationWeek

In addition, they want to help industry HR people meet the needs of health IT departments. “This will help HR professionals better understand what’s needed in the [health IT] landscape,” said Helen Figge, senior director for career services at HIMSS. “With this collaboration, we’re going to get more people into IT roles than we would otherwise. In the past, these jobs were siloed.”

Earlier this year, industry CIOs said they’d be looking for data scientists, analytics specialists, chief information security officers, chief applications officers, and digital technology and social media leaders. In the HIMSS workforce survey, 64 percent of healthcare providers said clinical application support was their greatest need this year. Fifty-eight percent said they were likely to hire clinical applications support staff in the future.

Last year the professional services firm Towers Watson found that 67 percent of healthcare providers faced difficulties finding experienced technology professionals, and 38 percent had retention issues. The challenge was particularly acute when it came to hiring professionals certified with Epic, the leading EHR platform: 73 percent of providers couldn’t find the people they needed with those credentials.

Between 2010 and 2020, the University of Illinois at Chicago predicts a 21 percent increase in health IT jobs. Some 50,000 jobs in healthcare informatics alone will need to be filled within the next five to seven years.

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