Health IT talent in high demand

Large IT projects, ICD-10 key drivers
By Bernie Monegain
11:44 AM

American healthcare workers' confidence levels remained fairly consistent in the second quarter of 2013, according to the Q2 Randstad Healthcare Employee Confidence Index. Confidence levels among healthcare workers decreased by one-fifth of a point, to 54.3, in the second quarter of 2013.

Harris Interactive conducted the online survey o behalf of Randstad Healthcare in April, May and June of this year, among 188 healthcare workers, ages 18 and older. It included physicians, healthcare administrators, healthcare IT professionals and other healthcare professionals.

"Healthcare workers are in high demand, with the sector experiencing some serious labor shortages. For example, healthcare information technology specialists such as medical coders and healthcare consultants for large IT projects are in high demand within the field due to the implementation of ICD-10. Employers have to find innovative ways to compete for top talent," said Steve McMahan, executive vice president of Randstad US, Professionals.

A March report by Wanted Analytics indicated that more than one million jobs were posted for healthcare-related occupations, representing a 3 percent year-over-year increase in hiring. Registered nurses led the country in the most job ads, up 13 percent when compared to March of 2012. However, critical care nurses had the highest year-over-year growth with 34 percent more jobs posted online this year than there were last March, according to Wanted Analytics," McMahan added.

"Even with the recent delay of the employer mandate provision of the ACA” he said, “many healthcare organizations can't pause due to other time-sensitive, mandated initiatives, such as the implementation of ICD-10 and the rigorous requirements to transition to electronic medical records by 2015. This, coupled with the ongoing issue of trying to augment nurse and physician staffing levels with the coming impact of the ACA, is creating challenging times for most."

Survey highlights:
• Percentage of healthcare workers who believe more jobs are available virtually unchanged
In the second quarter of 2013, 20 percent of healthcare workers believe more jobs available, slipping one percentage point from Q1 2013. More than half of healthcare workers (52%) believe fewer job opportunities available, holding steady compared to the previous quarter.
• Majority of healthcare workers confident they can find a new job; percentage remains unchanged
More than half of healthcare workers surveyed (54%) indicate they are confident they could find a job in the next 12 months, showing no change from the previous quarter.
• Employer confidence rises among healthcare workers
About six-in-10 (61%) healthcare workers feel confident in the future of their employer, rising three percentage points from the previous quarter.
• More healthcare workers optimistic about economic strength

The number of healthcare workers who say the economy is getting stronger rose four percentage points this quarter to 26 percent. Forty-three percent of healthcare workers believe the economy is weakening, rising two percentage points from the previous quarter.

Meanwhile, a new survey by CareerBuilder concludes that extended healthcare job vacancies is taking a toll on most healthcare organizations.

"The job market for healthcare positions continues to grow quickly in the rebounding economy, but filling key positions is far from easy, Jason Lovelace, president of CareerBuilder Healthcare, commented in releasing the results. It takes proactive recruitment strategies focused on building pipelines and observing relevant workforce analytics. Organizations are struggling to find a balance between bringing in new talent and hiring experienced industry veterans capable of stepping into stressful environments with little ramp-up time. It's important, however, that healthcare leaders develop pathways for new graduates."

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