Shortage of Health IT Professionals Imperils Health Care Reform Effort

In an iHealthBeat report by Kenny Goldberg, experts discussed the implications of the recent dearth of health IT professionals, and what some companies are doing to address it.

By the end of this year, there will be a national shortfall of 51,000 qualified health IT professionals. With the shortage, medical centers have to compete for talent -- particularly in rural areas, where it's harder to attract qualified workers.

To prime the pump of information technology jobs, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT has provided millions of dollars in grants to beef up training and education programs at colleges and universities.

The report includes comments from:

  • Russell Branzell, executive director of the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives;
  • Jennifer Horowitz, senior director of research at the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society;
  • Randy McCleese, CIO at St. Claire Regional Medical Center in Moorhead, Ky.; 
  • Sheri Stoltenberg, CEO of Stoltenberg Consulting in Pennsylvania; and
  • Veronica Zaman, vice president of corporate human resources and learning for Scripps Health in San Diego (Goldberg, iHealthBeat, 4/9/14).
You can download a PDF of this report.
Albert Stewart
In addition to Brian's comment above: The situation is even worse: I'm a Doctor of Pharmacy who has IT experience as an Application Developer (Delphi,C#, DBA). I've created a Clincial Decision Support app for Pharmacists which has beenin use for about 7 years. But have never received any $ or Administrative Sponsorship. Whatever the problem is, it's not JUST an insistence on Healthcare backgrounds. I keep going as I find it gratifying and also practical, as I of course use the App as a Hospital Pharmacist. But I've never been employed at a Hospital Sytem that knew how to utilize all my skills, my IT experience has been Home Healthcare, Mortgage, Capital Market, Lumber ....., Hospitals I am lucky to give it away. But Keep the Faith.
Brian Fullmer
Maybe its time healthcare realized that you don't need to be an RN to be in healthcare IT. I've been in the industry almost 15 years, and I am shocked at the inbreeding. The blame for the shortage lies squarely on the shoulders on those that only allow IT people with healthcare experience to apply. Very few other industries require years of industry specific experience. Healthcare needs the outside opinions if we ever want to progress, but with no inroads, we will continue down this same old path.

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