So, here’s some news that won’t surprise anyone who hasn’t had their head under a rock for the past few years.
According to a recent piece in PC World, the inevitable health IT talent shortage is hitting hospitals hard, driven not only by EMR adoption but also the need to comply with Meaningful Use standards.
As most of you probably know, four of six key deadlines for MU Stage 1 will arrive over the next several months.
Staff-hungry hospital CIOs are shaking their heads, with many afraid that they won’t meet MU goals in time even if they hire consulting talent. After all, not only are they competing with other hospitals, vendors are scooping up some of their prime candidates as well.
So how did we get into this mess? After all, it’s not as if nobody saw this coming. The thing is, it seems nobody did enough to deal with it, either.
For example, the government has spent $120 million in community college grants for health IT training. These programs should turn out 7,000 grads between 2013 to 2020.
But that’s a drop in the bucket compared to the 50,000 health IT staffers hospitals will need to meet MU deadlines — not by 2020, but right now.
Eventually, of course, supply will catch up with demand, particularly as EMR installations start to stabilize. The question is, just when will that happen?
Let’s hope that federal policymakers are thinking hard about this gap. The carrot-and-stick approach embodied by MU may be motivating, but it doesn’t do one thing about the labor shortage.