Some graduates of federally funded health IT training programs are having difficulty finding a job in the field, despite increased use of electronic health records and a growing a need for health IT specialists, Hartford Business Journal reports.
HHS has provided grants to 23 colleges across the U.S. to train students for jobs, such as data managers, implementation specialists and practice consultants.
A Look at Connecticut
Capital Community College -- the only college in Connecticut participating in the HHS health IT training program -- graduated its first class of students earlier this summer.
While about half of the students already were employed, only four of the 33 graduates have secured jobs in the health IT field.
Jo-Anne Leventhal, coordinator of the program, said she believes the field is so new that a lot of health care providers are not yet aware that they need to hire such employees.
However, Kimberly Kalajainen -- vice president and CIO at Lawrence & Memorial Hospital in New London, Conn. -- said that hospitals are looking to hire experienced health IT workers, not those who just graduated.
She said, "There is a steep learning curve," adding, "We are not looking for entry level positions."
Jess Kupec -- president and CEO of St. Francis HealthCare Partners in Hartford, Conn. -- said, "We've found it very difficult filling jobs related to electronic medical records." Kupec added, "The best candidates are the ones who have worked in a physician's practice, understand the workflow and have a background in IT."
A Look Ahead
Todd Park, chief technology officer at HHS, said, "There has been a lot of job growth in the health IT industry," adding, "But these programs are having a tougher time connecting graduates to actual jobs." Park said that he believes the issue is "solvable" and that demand is not the issue.
Leventhal said that although hiring of graduates from the health IT training program "has been slower than we would like," she expects it to "pick up greatly" (Bordonaro, Hartford Business Journal, 8/1).