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News & Exclusives

Inaugural HIMSS Workforce Survey Shows Positive Outlook for Healthcare IT Hiring

CHICAGO (July 11, 2013) – Today, HIMSS Analytics released the results of its first health IT workforce survey, sponsored by Medix IT, which examines hiring trends and barriers for healthcare provider organizations and IT vendors. The report, based on a survey of 224 executives working for hospital/healthcare system IT and vendor organizations, provides human resource leaders insights into the current hiring environment, recruitment and retention tactics, hiring plans for 2013 and resources currently employed by health IT providers and vendors.

“As healthcare organizations become increasingly sophisticated with their IT initiatives, human resource leaders are experiencing a new set of hiring challenges,” said Jennifer Horowitz, senior director of research for HIMSS Analytics. “By identifying those challenges and hiring trends, we hope this new report will be considered a resource for career development professionals as they plan their strategic personnel efforts.”

More than 85 percent of survey respondents indicated that their organization hired at least one employee in 2012. Only 13 percent reported implementing layoffs during the same time frame. While the health IT hiring environment has been very positive for both healthcare provider organizations and vendors, vendors were more likely to report hiring staff than were healthcare providers. Looking ahead, 79 percent of organizations also plan to hire additional staff in the coming year.

Over 2012, healthcare providers and health IT vendors were hiring in different employment areas. Healthcare providers were most likely to hire clinical application support positions and help desk IT staff, while vendors targeted sales and marketing additions.

Other key survey results include:

  • Employee Recruitment Tactics and Tools: Respondents from both employer groups reported competitive salary and benefit programs were critical to hiring qualified personnel. Job boards (70 percent) and employee referrals (69 percent) were the most frequently reported recruiting tools for both groups.
  • Retention Programs: Both groups reported they were most likely to use professional development opportunities to retain staff (60 percent of provider organizations; 64 percent vendor organizations). Additional employee retention incentives included telecommuting or tuition reimbursement, which varied in popularity between the two employer groups.
  • Healthcare Provider Organization Outsourcing: 76 percent of healthcare provider organization respondents currently outsource a service rather than hiring directly; while 93 percent have plans to outsource an area in the next year.
  • Industry Certification: Both healthcare providers and vendor organizations find certification for network/architecture support and security personnel to be the most important. Vendors overall rated the importance of certification higher than healthcare provider organizations.
  • Some IT Initiatives Placed on Hold: Approximately one-third of healthcare provider organizations indicated that they had to place an IT initiative on hold due to staffing shortages, and many expressed that these lower priority issues created risks to patient care and revenue generation. The lack of a local qualified talent pool was the biggest reported challenge to fully staffing for both employer groups.

“The number one barrier to implementing IT systems in hospitals is the lack of qualified resources,” said Eric Born, Managing Director of Medix IT. “We are thrilled to see that hiring is continuing to rise. It is encouraging to see healthcare organizations exploring innovative hiring solutions to combat the staffing challenges associated with IT implementations.”

“As the healthcare industry continues towards achieving and sustaining Meaningful Use as well as converting to the ICD-10 code set, we encourage employers to embrace this positive health IT hiring trend,” said JoAnn W. Klinedinst, CPHIMS, DES, PMP, FHIMSS, vice president of professional development for HIMSS. “Delaying IT initiatives because of staffing issues only creates inefficiencies and hinders technological advances like interoperability initiatives.  In turn, this can reduce provider effectiveness and negatively impact patient care. We hope this report will show employers that investing in health IT professional development programs are essential to the successful execution of IT initiatives that can improve healthcare delivery for patients.”

A full breakdown of each finding is available in the report appendix. To download the full report, visit: http://bit.ly/HIMSSWorkforce13.

Visit the HIMSS website to view an infographic showing the results of the survey.

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