Help wanted: Health system looks to hire 200 IT workers

By Bernie Monegain
07:33 AM

Catholic Health Initiatives, a Denver-based healthcare system, will hire more than 200 high-tech workers to help roll out its new clinical system across the country.

The work requires an increase in a number of specialized positions – including technical analysts, clinical informaticists, engineers, managers, database administrators, application developers and also security and identification-management personnel.

CHI expects to fill more than 100 positions over the next three months. An additional 100 positions will be filled over the next 12 months for a wide variety of operational projects within the information technology organization. The new employees will supplement a group of approximately 800 information technology employees at CHI.

The $1.5 billion project, which will include technology from Cerner, MEDITECH and Allscripts, will be implemented over the next five to seven years. It is among the largest information-technology initiatives of its kind in healthcare, and will likely involve additional high-tech positions, Catholic Health Initiatives executives say.

The implementation will include 72 hospitals in 18 states.
 
The clinical information technology project, which includes plans for a system-wide electronic health record in both the acute care and ambulatory settings, a health information exchange and physician and patient portals.

"Catholic Health Initiatives has launched a national clinical information-technology program that is very ambitious and very comprehensive," said Cristina Thomas, CHI's vice president for clinical information strategy. "We need the best people available to supplement our existing staff and to help us achieve our goal, which is to put new electronic tools to work for patients, clinicians and providers. We are making an aggressive effort to hire the best candidates for these important positions."
 
Many of the new jobs will be based in Denver, where CHI has been headquartered since its formation in 1996. Some key positions will be "virtual," allowing employees to work remotely. Other positions will based in or connected to CHI markets across the country, including Tacoma, Wash.; Des Moines, Iowa; Chattanooga, Tenn.; Little Rock, Ark.; Denville, N.J.; Lexington, Ky.; Dayton, Ohio; Cincinnati, Ohio; Nebraska; Minnesota; and North Dakota.

The organization's clinical information technology program includes a wide array of initiatives that focus on technology, clinical tools and system-wide infrastructure to achieve the organization's quality goals.

In addition to electronic health records to support CHI's 350 medical-group practices, the project will focus on the standardization of clinical documents, bar-coded medication administration and computerized physician order entry, among other areas.