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IT talent shortage hitting healthcare hardest

Ken Terry | July 1, 2015
With IT staff shortages a reality for CIOs in most industries, healthcare – driven by federally mandated incentives for such IT-intensive projects as Electronic Health Records – is experiencing even more of an IT labor crunch. Is poaching experienced IT talent from other industries the answer?

A number of medical schools now offer medical informatics courses that train physicians in some areas of health IT. But while these programs produce informaticists and chief medical information officers (CMIOs), they don't help in other areas such as security and EHR operations, Hood notes. 

The skills and experience gap between IT and healthcare persists, he says, but more and more clinicians are filling it. Hood cites the growing number of CIOs who are physicians with experience working on IT projects. This can be especially important in change management, he notes, where a hospital's management needs to persuade physicians to support an IT program that may change their workflow and even their practice patterns. 

Both Hood and Myeroff emphasize that health IT pros must understand how technology can be used to improve healthcare. Older professionals who can't do that may not be able to keep up, notes Hood. To succeed in this new era, IT staff must be very receptive to what physicians and nurses want, Myeroff adds. "You need the clinician mind to tell them what they're building."

 

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