I previously wrote about the value (or lack therof) of an EHR certificate when searching for a health IT job. With that in mind I thought it would be interesting to take a minute to look at the millions of dollars that the government put into the ONC Health IT Workforce Program.
For those who don’t know about the program, I first wrote about the program in May 2012 and about the HIT Pro Competency Exam that was associated with the program. I also followed up with an article talking about a first hand experience with the HIT Worforce program and finding jobs for the ONC Worforce participants.
If you read those articles, you’ll see that the program didn’t have a sterling reputation despite a lot of people that were excited about the prospects of breaking into healthcare IT. It seems that the Health IT Worforce program didn’t work out to well for many that were searching for health IT jobs. I did meet one health IT PR lady who took the program and thought that it was helpful for her to better do her job. Not the intent of the program.
As I look at the program, it seems that it failed to meet its intended goal of providing more health IT professionals. I think the biggest reason I think it generally failed is that it was missing deep ties into the healthcare community. A training program that’s not respected and appreciated by the healthcare IT community isn’t going to be of much value at all.
What are the lessons learned? ONC and the colleges who took part in the program should have created deeper ties into the health IT community for both the training they did and for placement post-training. I know that some of them worked really hard to do this and basically ran into a brick wall. So, I realize that this is much easier said than done. However, it’s absolutely what’s necessary.
I also think that the program should have been designed around specific EHR software training. The general training is nice, but the EHR specific training is much more valuable to an employer and more valued by a recruiter. Maybe some government incentive would have encouraged the behemoth EHR vendors to open up their EHR training to more people. Possibly not, but it would have been worth a try.
If you took part in the ONC Workforce program and haven’t found a job, be sure to upload your resume to Healthcare IT Central and search the various health IT jobs posted there. Plus, do everything you can to get some hands on health IT experience which you can add to your resume.