Demand for health IT workers high

'The lack of local qualified health IT workers, whether real or not, is a very real concern for many.'
By Bernie Monegain
10:53 AM
jobs concept

A new survey and study conducted by HIMSS Analytics shows demand for qualified health IT workers is as high as it's ever been and "projected to continue in the foreseeable future."

The 2014 HIMSS Workforce Survey results find healthcare organizations consider IT recruiters and executive search firms the most effective way to find good candidates for health IT work.

The high demand for qualified health IT professionals continues, concludes the 2014 HIMSS Workplace Study.

More than 84 percent of survey respondents reported their organization hired at least one staff member in the past year, a finding consistent with the 2013 survey when the number was at 86 percent.

With hiring in 2014 expected to continue at the 2013 pace, 82 percent of survey respondents planned to hire at least one full time employee in the next 12 months, a slight increase from the 79 percent of respondents planning the same in 2013.

[See also: Health IT leaders face hiring woes and The healthcare IT hiring frenzy: Will it continue?]

The study discovered that healthcare employers use multiple approaches to recruit qualified IT professionals. Yet, respondents considered IT recruiters and executive search firms to be the most effective resource to leverage in meeting their hiring demands.

"The lack of local qualified health IT workers, whether real or not, is a very real concern for many," said Lorren Pettit, vice president of research at HIMSS Analytics, in press release announcing the report findings. "And in an industry in which recruiting workers away from other healthcare organizations is fairly common practice, IT recruiters and staffing agencies are clearly seen to be the most effective recruitment resource at a healthcare employer's disposal."

Pettit added that he wouldn't be surprised to see the use of recruiters increase as a preferred recruitment resource as the demand for select IT professionals increases.

HIMSS Analytics conducted the research in May through June 2014 with findings based on responses from 200 individuals representing healthcare providers, vendors and consulting organizations, a sample considered generally representative of the health IT staffing needs and experiences of these types of organizations operating in the U.S., according to HIMSS Analytics.

[See also: Five foolproof questions to ask when hiring a healthcare BI 'expert.]

Other key findings of the survey:

  • Staff needed: Clinical application support staff (58 percent) is the most sought-after position provider organizations plan to hire in the next year, an increase from 34 percent, as reported in the 2013 survey results.
  • IT layoffs: Although the reported hiring of, or plans to hire, IT staff are quite high, the findings point to a 5 percent increase in staff layoffs between 2013 (8 percent) and 2014 (13 percent).
  • Outsourcing or not: Healthcare provider organizations expect to continue use of outsourced services in the next year; over two-thirds (70 percent) of respondents reported at least one area of anticipated outsourcing. Use of outsourced services decreased this year, since the 2013 survey found 93 percent of healthcare provider organizations planned at least one outsourced service.

"The 2014 HIMSS Workforce Survey provides positive insights for both experienced and entry-level healthcare professionals," said JoAnn Klinedinst, vice president of professional development, HIMSS North America, in a news release. "The research results show the need for a variety of IT positions in healthcare, with providers who responded to the survey stating they would likely hire clinical application support staff, while vendor respondents said they would be most interested in field support staff.

"In addition, a higher percentage of organizations in 2014, compared to respondents to the survey in 2013, said they were interested in training current employees to fill needed positions or were willing to hire recent graduates."

Access the full survey here.

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