A healthcare IT staffing shortage is opening the door for channel partners in the vertical, with 76 percent of healthcare provider organization respondents currently outsourcing a service rather than hiring directly. And, a full 93 percent have plans to outsource an area in the next year.
According to a study by HIMSS Analytics, approximately one-third of healthcare provider organizations indicated that they had to place an IT initiative on hold due to staffing shortages, and many expressed that these lower priority issues created risks to patient care and revenue generation. The lack of a local qualified talent pool was the biggest reported challenge to fully staffing for both employer groups.
“The number one barrier to implementing IT systems in hospitals is the lack of qualified resources,” said Eric Born, managing director of Medix IT, which sponsored the stufy. “We are thrilled to see that hiring is continuing to rise. It is encouraging to see healthcare organizations exploring innovative hiring solutions to combat the staffing challenges associated with IT implementations.”
Both healthcare providers and vendor organizations find certification for network/architecture support and security personnel to be the most important. Vendors overall rated the importance of certification higher than healthcare provider organizations.
“As healthcare organizations become increasingly sophisticated with their IT initiatives, human resource leaders are experiencing a new set of hiring challenges,” said Jennifer Horowitz, senior director of research for HIMSS Analytics. “By identifying those challenges and hiring trends, we hope this new report will be considered a resource for career development professionals as they plan their strategic personnel efforts.”
More than 85 percent of survey respondents indicated that their organization hired at least one employee in 2012. Only 13 percent reported implementing layoffs during the same time frame. While the health IT hiring environment has been very positive for both healthcare provider organizations and vendors, vendors were more likely to report hiring staff than were healthcare providers. Looking ahead, 79 percent of organizations also plan to hire additional staff in the coming year.
“As the healthcare industry continues towards achieving and sustaining meaningful use as well as converting to the ICD-10 code set, we encourage employers to embrace this positive health IT hiring trend,” said JoAnn W. Klinedinst, vice president of professional development for HIMSS. “Delaying IT initiatives because of staffing issues only creates inefficiencies and hinders technological advances like interoperability initiatives. In turn, this can reduce provider effectiveness and negatively impact patient care. We hope this report will show employers that investing in health IT professional development programs are essential to the successful execution of IT initiatives that can improve healthcare delivery for patients.”