Staffing issues faced by health care IT

The health care IT staffing has in recent years is plagued by staffing shortages even though the healthcare industry is continuing to grow irrespective of the general state of the U.S. economy. The growth in the health care sector is happening at a rapid pace that it is resulting in the constant increase in the need for more staff. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistic, employment projections for 2012 to 2022, the demand for health care staff is not likely to decrease in the coming years. The health care industry is projected to add about five million jobs between 2012 and 2020.

In this scenario, the health care sector is facing lack of qualified Healthcare IT resources that is resulting in serious impact on the day-to-day operations in many hospitals and health care centers. The study conducted by CSC states that there would be a shortage of about 51,000 healthcare IT industry professionals by the end of 2014. This shortage is worse in rural areas with small rural hospitals majority of which are forced to partner or acquired by larger healthcare systems to obtain the needed expertise and resources.  The reason why there is such a shortage in skilled healthcare IT talent is due to the following below mentioned factors:

1. New requirements such as new systems and upgrades under the Meaningful Use stage 2, ICD-10 is forcing every hospital in the United States to implement an electronic record and the need to upgrade IT systems to handle the more complex ICD-10 codes and the security risks these programs bring in is necessitating the need for health IT professionals.

2. The top IT talent is attracted towards pure technology firms due to monetary rewards and career visibility these firms provide to the candidates thereby resulting in staff shortage in healthcare IT.

3. The changing requirements in the healthcare IT is not getting reflected in the many facilities that are left with long term employees who do not have relevant skill sets to be fully productive as per the current market trends. Current market systems require different skill sets than required some few decades back.  In today’s modern system, the knowledge of the business operations has been just as important as the knowledge of the technology.

The role of staffing agencies or staff augmentation firms is quite important in solving the crisis in health care IT by providing a resource/staff for a fixed period instead of executing a specific project.