Health IT Workforce Shortage Poll

Over on our Healthcare IT job board, we deal with the question of the Healthcare IT workforce shortage all the time. Although, the question of a shortage is a hard once since finding the right people to hire is always hard. Plus, in this artificially stimulated EHR adoption environment, of course many of the resources are tapped out.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences. Are you able to find all the talented healthcare IT people you need? Is there a shortage? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments, but at least vote in the poll below.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference, EXPO.health, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.

7 Comments

  • John, in my opinion, The Health I.T. shortage is artificial. If you look for I.T. talents, there are plenty available. If you are looking for I.T. personnel through the prism of Health Care, then there is lot of shortage. My point is that I.T. workers are all multi talented, trainable and able to work in the Health Care field. The issue is that health care industries does not want to train anyone that hasn’t learn the health care lingo to work in their fields. I.T talents are being viewed as non qualify. We basically have a catch 22 scenario. Only if the health care hiring managers think outside the box will they be able to find their workers. I thought I just add in my 2 cents since I went through this same process.

  • Joseph,
    I agree that healthcare is usually very insular and afraid to hire IT people that have no healthcare experience or understanding. There are exceptions (somehow they hired me). I remember my 2 day training at the EHR vendor. I’m sure it was unlike any training they had done previously. They didn’t have to teach me the tech stuff at all, but they had to explain SOAP, ICD-10, and CPT to me.

    I would just say though that there’s high demand for highly qualified tech people in every industry. Depending on the type of tech person, there’s a shortage across the entire IT category of jobs (ie. programmers). So, I don’t think it’s as simple as looking at IT people with no healthcare experience.

  • Joseph,

    I agree with you completely. It’s so bad that hiring managers only want people with extremely specific experience and predefined skills. That someone has a great IT background and heavy exposure to healthcare means nothing to them. I’ve been to some PMI events where hiring managers met with PMI members, some actually PMP certified, some not (but well trained and experienced), even people who went through the Feds HealthIT training, and no one was even getting a real interview – in this case because the hospital group in question simply does not allow for hiring people without the exact training and experience. These hiring managers were actually quite frustrated, since they were in a room full of people who would have generally done quite well for them. There were also HR recruiters present – same reaction.

    I’ve had online discussions with HIMSS senior people, and found them very unwilling for the most part to accept that IT people outside healthcare had anything to offer.

    Really sad, and extremely wasteful IMHO!

    Ron

  • John, Let me reverse the scenario with I.T. tech people. Why do we want to work for Health Care when every industries are paying top dollars to hire tech talents? I came across a report many months ago stating that Health Care I.T. tech on average makes about 15% less than if they are in other industries. Most I.T. tech would already know the answer what they would do if the offer is on the table. Bottom line is health care industries does not value I.T. as much as other industries. It is difficult to change their mind set to embrace all the changes in this new economy. I felt that there is a lot of resistant to change from their old way because it has been like a monopoly. To state it bluntly, they are in their little bubble and they only want people to play by their rules. As for R Troy’s comment about HIMSS, I found it very interesting that most of their social events are mingling with politicians and golfing at resort. I am not too sure if their agenda is really trying to improve health care through I.T.

  • Joseph,
    Definitely worth considering why many of the best tech people should work in healthcare. Done right, the mission is as good or better than any industry.

  • Joseph,

    Some more good points. My reason for wanting to work in HealthIT is because of my personal involvement in healthcare and EMS (Emergency Medical Services). However, I should also note that Financial IT, which has fairly high standards that hold up to what HealthIT needs, hasmoved a huge number of its IT jobs to the far east and uses H1B visa holders (illegally) for many others and in turn has laid off many of its US IT workers. What that boils down to is that there are some very good IT workers available though most would need some Health related training. But I also agree that hospital management often has little understanding or appreciation for IT, and that’s a huge problem.

    As to the events with hiring managers and recruiters, they were PMI events. And the discussions that I found so frustrating were online. I had made a suggestion to them – to create a variation on their main certification that acknowledged a solid IT background plus a decent level of HealthIT knowledge. I also encouraged them to arrange internships for ONC HealthIT graduates that might help them get actual jobs – there was pretty much no interest in either idea. It was clear to me that they were not so much looking to improve the supply of HealthIT workers but more likely to protect existing ones from worries about an increasing labor supply, or so it seemed from their comments.

    HealthIT badly needs people who don’t just know IT, and don’t just know healthcare, but have observed what does and what doesn’t work in HealthIT. For instance, walk into a hospital, and observe the chain of events as a patient enters the ER, eventually ‘moves upstairs’, gets treated, is discharged and goes home, perhaps to soon be back in the same ER. Also follow the billing and reimbursement processes and far more, and you quickly understand that it’s clear that numerous practices and hospitals could use a great deal of help in using IT to function at a far higher level. Some of us do want to make a decent living but what to do some good as well.As John puts it, the mission is very important!

  • John and R Troy, Working in the Health IT field is very noble and that’s how I got interested in the first place. Because you are contributing to make health care systems better and indirectly helping patients as well with correct and up to the moment information. But, at current stage, I feel that the whole Health Care industry is in disarray. That came even before ACA and now it’s a lot worse. In reality, systems are not really exchanging patients information to derive a better way to treat them. All we have are mish-mesh networks that don’t even work well with each others. Perhaps that’s part of growing pain. I just wish the streamline processes will take place and we won’t ended up with a dysfunctional health care system instead.

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