IT staff shortages in the field of health care

Health care industry is one of the most important sectors that are serving the populations of United States. United States is a global leader in the health care services and an innovator of innovative diagnostics and treatment. The United States has the largest health care service markets in the world, representing a significant portion of the U.S. economy. During 2010, the health care service industry accounted for about $1.75 trillion in revenues and it had employed more than 14 million people. The U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the growth in the industry would yield another 3.2 million new jobs between 2008 and 2018.

Amidst this growth story there is another side of the U.S. health sector, which is the lack of adequate Information Technology or IT staff in majority of healthcare organizations. The need for IT staff at the nation’s health organizations remains acute according to the results of a recent survey of Chief Information Officers – CIO’s that found that more than two-thirds are reporting shortages of IT staffs.

The survey conducted by the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) showed that staff shortages are the major problem for majority of IT executives. The adoption of Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH) in 2009 necessitated the health care providers to have a large pool of qualified IT staff to implement new systems.

Majority of health care organizations were expecting to install systems and train clinicians to use them to qualify for incentive payments. Many Health Information Technology executives predicted that there would be a competitive market for professionals with experience in implementing electronic health records (EHR’s) and other clinical systems. The survey conducted by CHIME in 2010, found that 59 percent of respondents reported shortages on their IT staff.

Another survey carried on during the month of July-2012, by CHIME CIO survey found that 67 percent of the respondents reported staffing shortages in IT. This survey also dealt on those respondents who expressed concern that staffing challenges will negatively influence their organizations’ chances to receive HITECH stimulus fund payments that dropped slightly when compared with 2010. The retention of IT staff was a growing concern among the CHIME members who responded to the surveys. The surveys from CHIME, Healthcare

Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) revealed the problems that health care organizations are facing with IT staffing shortages that have increased more since the enactment of Meaningful Use of electronic health records under HITECH Act.