Critical shortages of health care IT skillsets are creating health and economic disparities, especially in rural America where residents are poorer, sicker and more likely to be uninsured and threaten sustainable health care across the country, Rural Health Telecom founder and CEO Tim Koxlien said in a video blog for health care providers released here. And that of course opens up an opportunity for channel partners.
“Health care providers (HCP) in rural communities lack the IT personnel required to manage complex networks that enable lifesaving, cost-reducing and innovative services such as telemedicine and telehealth,” Koxlien said. “Telehealth can help alleviate the industry’s national shortage of doctors and nurses in rural areas, but health care providers need skilled and qualified IT engineers in urban and rural areas in order to facilitate telemedicine applications and internal infrastructure.”
A report by the College of Health Information Management Executives concluded that 67 percent of chief information officers and human resource executives are experiencing IT staff shortages and 59 percent say such staffing challenges will negatively impact their chances to receive Meaningful Use incentives. Medicare and Medicaid incentive programs award HCPs on the adoption and implementation of certified electronic health record (EHR) technology, which requires advanced IT skillsets to manage and upgrade EHR networks, tools and applications.
“This nationwide spotlight is important because health information technology possesses the tools to improve quality of healthcare delivery, increase patient safety, decrease medical errors and strengthen the interaction between patients and healthcare providers,” Koxlien said.