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Sutter Health Ready To Deploy HIE, But Can It Succeed?

Sutter Health doesn’t have a great reputation when it comes to EMR implementation. Late last year, when we reported that Sutter’s Epic EMR crashed for an entire day, comments came pouring in about the company’s questionable approach to training its staff on using the system.

According to Epic consultants who’d been involved in the project, Sutter leaders decided that Epic experts were there to “facilitate” training done by inexperienced in-house teams, rather than actually teach key users what they need to know. The result was strife, disorder and anxiety, according to several consultants who’d been involved. Since then, Sutter has connected its EMR to five medical foundations and 17 hospital campuses; by next year, it expects the EMR to connect to information on 3 million patients. But there’s no reason to think it’s changed its training strategy, which could cast a bit of a pall over the new project.

Now, Sutter Health is building out a health information exchange, working with Orion Health, which will tie together hospitals and doctors both inside and outside of its network across northern California. Sutter plans to begin deploying the HIE in phases this summer, starting with data integration with the Epic EMR and extending to testing exchange of inbound and outbound data. If the project works out, it seems likely that it will be a plus for every provider that does business with Sutter.

The question is, will Sutter do a better job of managing this process than it did in rolling out its EMR? While it’s easy to boast that your plans are going to be a “gamechanger” for the market, it’s hard to take that claim at face value when your EMR implementation hasn’t gone so splendidly.

Certainly, Orion is a reputable HIE vendor which has been praised for having strong products and service. And Sutter certainly has the financial wherewithal to see such an effort through. The thing is, if Sutter leaders (seemingly) took a wrongheaded approach to the all-important issue of EMR training, who knows what curveballs they might throw into the process of rolling out an HIE? Even if its EMR has stabilized and Sutter has somehow gotten past its training hurdles, its past missteps don’t inspire confidence.

If I were with Orion, I’d draw a firm line where training was concerned, as Sutter’s past strategy only seems to have cast its last major HIT vendor in a bad light. If not, I’d make sure the contract had a workable bailout clause…or be prepared for some serious headaches.

June 30, 2014 I Written By

Anne Zieger is veteran healthcare consultant and analyst with 20 years of industry experience. Zieger formerly served as editor-in-chief of FierceHealthcare.com and her commentaries have appeared in dozens of international business publications, including Forbes, Business Week and Information Week. She has also contributed content to hundreds of healthcare and health IT organizations, including several Fortune 500 companies.

Healthcare IT Job Corner

If you’re working in healthcare IT and haven’t checked out Healthcare IT Central, I encourage you to do so now. I acquired the site late last year and we’ve been growing it to be the leading source of health IT jobs and health IT professionals. Plus, if you’re looking for a health IT job or a better health IT job, it’s free for you to register and post your resume. Plus, you don’t even have to register to search through the healthcare IT jobs that companies like Dell and Beacon Partners and First Choice Professionals have posted. In fact, here’s a list of some of our top health IT job searches:

Along with a great health IT and EHR job board, Healthcare IT Central also has a resume database (close to 12,000 active health IT professional resumes) and a great health IT career blog.

On the healthcare IT career blog, we sometimes feature jobs like we did with this Wanted: Healthcare Consulting Senior Principal – Optimization. Plus, I’m sure many of you will love the Dear Cassie series we’re doing. In fact, if you have health IT career questions you’d like answer, let me know and I’ll work with Cassie to get you an answer.

Finding the right health IT professionals to work on your team is still one of the most important thing you can do in any organization. Plus, it’s a real challenge in this highly competitive market. Hopefully the resources above will help those searching for talent and those searching for health IT jobs.

May 14, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 14 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus.

Hospital EMR and EHR Recruiting

Late last year, I acquired the healthcare IT career website Healthcare IT Central. Since bringing Healthcare IT Central into the Healthcare Scene family, I’ve dove head first into the healthcare IT Recruiting and career space. It’s been quite an adventure with a lot of great learning for me along the way.

What I’ve learned most is that there are some really amazing people working in healthcare IT and some really amazing companies that are trying their best to make healthcare better. There are a lot of screwed up things in healthcare, but the people are generally good people and a real pleasure to work with.

Health IT Job Seekers
If you’re in the job market and looking for a healthcare IT job, take a few minutes to register as a job seeker where you can upload your resume and apply for jobs at some of the top healthcare IT companies. Also, be sure to check out some of these popular job searches:

Of course, you can always do your own health IT job search using the criteria that matter for you. All of this is all free for the job seeker.

Health IT Employers
If you’re a health IT company or a hospital organization looking to hire qualified healthcare IT professionals, you can register and post your jobs as well. We just passed over 20,000 registered job seekers and are getting close to 11,000 active health IT focused resumes.

We also have other options available to employers like eNewsletter sponsorships (almost 16,000 email subscribers), webinars, and resume database access where you can search for specific candidates.

We’re working really hard to be an amazing health IT career resource for both job seekers and employers. If you have any feedback on the site and what we’re doing, we’d love to hear it on our contact us page.

April 17, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 14 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus.

Outsourcing Your Disaster Recovery Team

I imagine most hospital CIOs are overwhelmed by the total number of systems and applications that they have to support. Hospital systems can have hundreds of applications that they’re required to support. Along with having to support the day to day operations of these systems, you also have to plan for business continuity and disaster recovery as well.

Every 6 months to a year, it seems we get a stark reminder of the need for good disaster recovery thanks to some devastating hurricane, earthquake, or other natural disaster. Plus, the stories of Hurricane Katrina and Super Storm Sandy and their impact at hospitals still ring in my ears and likely many other hospital CIOs.

Considering this background, I was intrigued by this Florida Hospital Case Study on Disaster Recovery. Obviously, Florida sits out there in a position that’s just waiting to be hit by a hurricane. So, good disaster recovery is a necessity for them.

What was most intriguing to me was that this hospital chose to use a managed recovery program from SunGard to make this a reality. While I don’t suggest outsourcing all of your disaster recovery (you need in house expertise deeply involved), I think it’s a great idea to work with a third party provider for your disaster recovery.

First, there are so many systems that it’s great to have a third party hold you accountable for all of your systems. Second, a third party can ensure that you do proper and regular disaster recovery testing of your systems. Third, they can provide an outside perspective that can improve your internal approach to disaster recovery.

Many of the above items can be done in house as well, but we all know that there’s a certain level of accountability that comes from having paid someone to hold you accountable. Otherwise, it’s really easy for one of your staff who’s being pulled in a hundred different directions to let your disaster recovery program slip through the cracks.

April 10, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 14 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus.

Interview with Dana Sellers: Encore Pay for Perfomance (P4P) Managed Services

The following is an interview with Dana Sellers, CEO of Encore Health Resources about their new Pay for Performance Managed Services offering which they’ll be sharing at HIMSS 2014.
Dana Sellers
Tell us your vision for how your new P4P Managed Services will work.
Our vision is to help our clients manage performance and data components against payer contracts to maximize quality, obtain incentives, and avoid penalties. Our offering uses a combination of Encore subject-matter experts (SMEs), software tools, and methodologies that we’ve already tested and proven in large healthcare systems. P4P Managed Services lifts the burden of meeting these value-based demands off our clients’ shoulders and into Encore’s hands. As part of this innovative offering, we also share risks and rewards via multi-year partnerships. We work with clients to ensure that they have the trusted data they need to support performance improvement and obtain incentives.

Our service begins with the P4P Value-driven Roadmap, which identifies the dollars and associated measures at stake in clients’ at-risk, value-based contracts — including projections for the next few years. As input for the roadmap, we perform a data assessment of a client’s EHR and other source systems to determine if they are capturing the right data for the targeted measures. The roadmap defines the multi-year data and process program required to obtain the desired incentives.

Next, we establish this required program along with data governance, technology, and data tools. We also build the value components of the program, including EHR remediation, workflow redesign, change management, data profiling, ETL, and dashboards required to monitor performance.

Once the program foundation is established, the value-management cycle begins. Encore monitors each client’s performance, providing insight through performance analysis and suggesting needed performance improvements to meet all targeted incentives and enhance the quality of care. Also, as new contracts emerge, we work with clients to incorporate new eMeasures into the program.

By creating trusted, transparent data, Encore helps health systems transform and meet new payment-model requirements by using eMeasures to adhere to evidence-based standards. The result is better patient care and an improved bottom line. We provide the consulting expertise, unique methodologies, and our own, in-house developed software tools to help our clients succeed — as we’ve proven by our results in helping other large clients accelerate their achievements through eMeasures.

Why did you choose to offer a service like this?
We know EHR data! Our methodologies and software tools are built around EHR data and eMeasures.

Encore was founded to provide consulting services with a focus on analytics fueled by clinical data. In the broad spectrum of consulting services that we provide – from HIT and clinical advisory to implementation, go-live services, and analytics — our focus is trained on identifying and gathering the data that our clients need to improve healthcare and operational performance. Therefore, our P4P Managed Services offering is a natural extension of our mission. At-risk contracts require the ability to track eMeasures, which has been an Encore strength – and differentiator — since our founding five years ago.

Our vision for P4P Managed Services is also supported by our clients – especially CIOs and CFOs. They have told us that they need assistance with all aspects of data capture, analytics, and performance improvement. When we lift that burden from our clients’ shoulders, it frees them to focus on other critical issues, such as cost reduction, while we leverage our unique expertise and proven experience to manage the value side of the equation.

Which P4P programs do you see Encore supporting?
We support measures — quality measures that go back to incentives. These include Medicare, Medicaid, commercial P4P/Fee-for-Value type contracts, IQR, PQRS, ACO, ACAs, ACCs, NQF/CQMs, PCMH, PCQUS, clinically integrated networks, and the like.

Our methodology and tools tie the eMeasures directly to workflow, so we know how to change each client’s workflow to get better results. Our knowledge bases include over 350 eMeasures.

How much of this offering is technical and how much of it is services.
This is an important question. Encore is first and foremost a services company – a services company that is strongly differentiated by unmatched, in-house-developed software solutions that are uniquely designed to support the services we provide. So our new offering is precisely that: services supported by innovative technology and processes on a flexible, as-needed basis.

What does the cost structure look like for this service?
As described earlier, the P4P Managed Services cost structure is based upon a roadmap we define with each client to quantify the value-based, at-risk dollars and the client’s capabilities to manage the quality-performance components of their at-risk contracts. Contract details, therefore, will vary with each client’s situation. The bottom line is that Encore is willing to manage our P4P Managed Services contracts while working with clients to define a risk-sharing arrangement that incents everyone to achieve.

Why would an organization choose to outsource the P4P to Encore as opposed to doing it in-house?
The process of managing performance against eMeasures across a health system is complex, and many clients have not put together a disciplined approach to performance improvement. Further, many of our clients are telling us that they simply do not have the full complement of expertise, resources, technology, and program-management disciplines available to move fast enough against a dizzying array of government and commercial at-risk contracts. But we do, and we – especially our skilled eMeasures experts — have a track record that proves it.

Also, an increasing number of health systems are recognizing that they’ll have to enter a world of eMeasures that is growing every year. With P4P Managed Services, we bring the expertise, skills, tools, and methodology that can take this eMeasure world and our clients under our wing. Our new service provides clients the breathing room to focus on multiple fronts simultaneously – and not leave any dollars on the table as a result.

A third reason for choosing our new offering is because it’s a cost-conscious solution. We eliminate the need for clients to hire more architects, eMeasures specialists, analysts, and report builders.

Finally, P4P Managed Services can preserve endangered species. That is, we supplement our clients’ existing IT department with some of the hardest resources to find: clinicians and operational SMEs with an understanding of data; eMeasures experts; and, technical SMEs with an understanding of the clinical and the operational worlds.

How much accountability is Encore taking on with these P4P Managed Services? Where do you draw the line?
Our new offering is a full life-cycle solution that we approach as a partnership. We nail down the amount of accountability – the risk that we’re able to share – on a case-by-case basis through the roadmap. Depending upon what we learn, we then determine the degree of accountability that both we and our clients can share to incent the highest levels of achievement.

Is there some risk on Encore’s part that the client will fall short on what they need to accomplish for Encore to provide the P4P services? Encore can’t go in and do the documentation for the doctor.
This is precisely what our new service is in place to define. As with every engagement, we use a thorough, careful assessment process to ascertain the nature of the challenges involved. With P4P Managed Services, that means understanding:
• The incentives involved
• The risk involved if our clients can’t achieve optimal revenue reimbursement – say with Medicare and Medicaid contracts
• The risk involved for Encore if those contractual incentives are not earned
Bottom line: we both win, or we both lose. With P4P managed services, we are convinced that we can define on a case-by-case basis the mix of Encore services, solutions, and client resources that Encore will manage to produce a win or multiple wins for both sides.

This feels similar to revenue cycle management (RCM) applied to P4P programs. Can you apply some of the RCM learnings to this type of offering?
Yes, similarities do exist between RCM and the management of quality performance components of at-risk contracts. The way we see it, RCM has been responsible for collecting patient data and getting claims ready for a long time. It remains fairly unchanged and encompasses the management of people, processes, and technology across health systems to improve revenue collection. By tying eMeasures to clinical rather than latent claims data, performance issues can be corrected within a few days. That is because the use of EHR data literally “moves the needle” in real time. Beyond claims data, we use EHR clinical data to affect change that meets the required quality measures thresholds.

At present, there is an increased focus on traditional cost monitoring, which informs RCM. This typically happens at the service line and department level; not at the episode-of-care level. Although direct, indirect, fixed, and ad-hoc costs are certainly important and are included, value-based cost control and reduction efforts must focus on the clinical processes, just like the quality performance components. Both will require tracking the costs and quality across the entire continuum of care, constantly analyzing performance and applying adjustments. And the revenue cycle is a significant piece of this. So the discipline and techniques needed for RCM can certainly inform a health system’s approach to fee-for-value focused management.

Do you see this as the start of offering even more Managed Services offerings?
Yes. We are now working on another offering – it’s in the packaging stages – around Meta-Data Management. Stay tuned for more details later this year.

February 20, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 14 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus.

Managing Legacy Health IT Systems

One of the realities of healthcare IT is the mass of legacy healthcare IT systems that an organization has to support. I remember one hospital CIO saying that they had over 100 different health IT systems in their organization that they were supporting. Now expand that over the years and you can imagine how many of those systems get replaced and the old legacy system has to be supported.

I’m sure many are asking why they don’t just sunset the system. In many cases there are regulations and laws around how long you have to retain the healthcare data that’s stored in these systems. Other times there isn’t a good way to get the data out of the legacy system and the organization still needs access to the data. Regardless of the reason, every hospital has a number of legacy systems.

A little while ago I was talking with a consulting company and they pointed out something really interesting. Many times hospitals find themselves in a situation where they have a legacy system they have to support, but all their expertise in that legacy system has moved on from the organization. It turns out that this presents a great opportunity for these consulting companies to leverage the legacy software experience of their consultants. Many of these consulting companies do amazingly well just consulting on legacy systems. It’s amazing.

In my G+ hangout today, we also touched on this topic. The question of how to host the legacy system is often an important consideration. In the video interview, Jason Mendenhall pointed out that for legacy system’s, you often don’t want to move it to some new high end cloud infrastructure. In fact, it’s very likely that it’s not even possible. However, it’s nice to have all your health IT hosted in a place that can support the full gamut of needs from legacy servers to high end cloud computing.

I’d love to hear more about people’s strategy when it comes to legacy applications. Also, can we learn from our current experience that will help avoid future legacy application misery?

January 28, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 14 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus.

What Can Go Wrong With An Epic Implementation

With Epic owning the lion’s share of new EMR implementations — it has as many in progress or planned as all other major vendors combined — it’s good to stop and look at just what can go wrong with an Epic implementation.

After all, while Epic installations are a fact of life, all of the news they generate isn’t good. In fact, a growing number of stories of botched Epic installs and institutional fallout are beginning to mount.

In an effort to do learn more about Epic’s strengths and weaknesses, researchers at The Advisory Board Company interviewed some of Epic’s most experienced U.S. hospital customers, as well as some of the busiest Epic implementation consultants, writes senior research director Doug Thompson.

As Thompson points out, the problems Advisory Board identified could impact any big EMR install, but with Epic in the lead, it doesn’t hurt to focus on its products specifically.  (By the way, according to the Advisory Board, there were 194 Epic installs in process or contracted for 2012 and 2013; the closest competitor, MEDITECH, had 59 and Cerner came in at 55.)

So what’s behind the stumbling? Thompson names several limitations to Epic’s own approach to implementation, including the following:

* Its young implementation staffers may be enthusiastic, but some lack operational experience in hospitals or medical practices, which means they rely heavily on Epic’s standard methods and tools –and that may not be adequate for some situations.

* Though Epic’s recommended implementation staffing numbers are higher than that of most other EMR vendors, their estimate nonetheless falls short often by 20 percent to 30 percent of the need.

*Epic’s “foundation” (model) installation plan limits customization or extensive configuration until after the EMR has gone live, which can lead to less physician buy-in and end-user cooperation.

To address these concerns, Thompson offers fourteen techniques to help hospitals get the value they want.  Some of my favorites include:

Begin with the end in mind: Make sure your facility has specific, measurable benefits they hope to achieve with your Epic implementation, and prepare to measure and manage progress in that direction.

Governance: Make sure you assign appropriate roles and responsibilities in managing your Epic rollout and ongoing use. While IT will serve as the linchpin of the project, of course, it’s critical to make sure the appropriate operations leaders have a clear sense of how Epic can and should affect their areas of responsibility.

Get outside input on project staffing: While Epic is upfront about the need for extensive staffing in its implementation, as noted its estimates still come in rather low. It’s a good idea to get in objective outside estimate as to how big the project staff really needs to be.

For more information, I highly recommend you read the full Advisory Board brief. But in short, as  the report concludes, it seems that relying too much on Epic’s approach, staff and tools can lead to problems. Surprised?

December 9, 2013 I Written By

Anne Zieger is veteran healthcare consultant and analyst with 20 years of industry experience. Zieger formerly served as editor-in-chief of FierceHealthcare.com and her commentaries have appeared in dozens of international business publications, including Forbes, Business Week and Information Week. She has also contributed content to hundreds of healthcare and health IT organizations, including several Fortune 500 companies.

Should Health IT Consulting Companies Do Software?

I’ve had a lot of conversations recently with a lot of the top health IT and EHR consulting companies out there today. I imagine this is partially a result of attending the CHIME Annual Forum and also bringing the Healthcare IT Central’s job board into the Healthcare Scene network. Either way, I’ve been intrigued by all the various approaches that healthcare IT consulting companies take.

In one of my conversations, someone suggested to me that if a health IT consulting company does software and consulting, then it angers the health IT software vendors. On its face you can see where this could be a challenge. In some cases it can turn a consulting company into a competitor with the software company. I think there’s a nuanced way to approach this that can avoid the issue in many cases, but no doubt it takes a unique leader with a special vision to handle the balance.

In another conversation with Ivo Nelson we were discussing his software and consulting company. I asked him why he had two companies with practically the same name and addressing much of the same market area. He then told me that it was because he believed that it was really hard to have a software company and a consulting company under the same roof. As we talked more I realized that the real challenge is that if you try and do both, one of them becomes the red-headed step child that doesn’t get enough attention (nothing against red heads or step children since I love them both).

What do you think? Can a consulting company also be a software vendor? I look forward to hearing your thoughts in the comments.

December 4, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 14 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus.

DoD, VA Spent Bulk of 2012 iEHR Budget on Support Contracts

The VA and DoD’s iEHR project may or may not come together, but it seems clear that at least one party is getting ahead — the vendors the agencies retained to support the project.

A new report from the Interagency Program Office concludes that the two agencies spent more than $300 million funding support contracts for iEHR work in 2012.  The IPO’s job is  to modernize the Military Health System’s EMR software.

DoD and the VA have been working to build a joint integrated EMR, known as the iEHR, since 2009. The idea is to build an EMR which allows every service member to have and maintain a single personal electronic health record through their career and lifetime.

However, to say the project has been troubled is an understatement, with changes of strategy riddling the effort throughout its lifespan.

In February, for example, the iEHR project was halted, with officials electing to make their current EMR systems more interoperable.

A few months later, DoD Secretary Chuck Hagel wrote a memo stating that the agency will consider a commercial EMR system. Most recently, the DoD asked 27 EMR vendors to provide demos of possible EMR replacements.

Most recently, the DoD announced that it was looking for contractors that can support its current EMR, AHLTA, through 2018.

All  I can say is that if you’re following all of this you’re way ahead of me. With so many switches in direction, I can’t imagine anything lasting and good coming out of the process. Maybe you have to be military to get it. As for me, I see a strategy process that seems to be governed by something resembling a coin flip.

November 27, 2013 I Written By

Anne Zieger is veteran healthcare consultant and analyst with 20 years of industry experience. Zieger formerly served as editor-in-chief of FierceHealthcare.com and her commentaries have appeared in dozens of international business publications, including Forbes, Business Week and Information Week. She has also contributed content to hundreds of healthcare and health IT organizations, including several Fortune 500 companies.

Study: Health IT Jobs 2.5% Of All Healthcare Hiring

New research has concluded that 2.5 percent of all healthcare hiring is health IT-related, according to a report in EHR Intelligence.

The study, which lumps EHR system implementation, informatics and other healtlh IT skills into the mix, was published Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society.

According to researcher Aaron Schwartz and colleagues, most of the 434,282 positions open are driven by opportunities created by the  HITECH Act. During the study period, which corresponded with the implementation of HITECH, researchers found an 86 percent increase in monthly job postings including “electronic health record” or “clinical informatics,” EHR Intelligence notes.

Implementation support was the most desired skill, with 43 percent of listings asking for recruits with system installation, purchasing or workflow design skills.

Only 39 percent of job listings were posted by healthcare providers, the study found. This suggests a very heavy reliance on recruiters to fill these positions, which require difficult-to-find skillsets.

Things haven’t changed much since 2011, where the study cuts off. Not surprisingly, health IT hiring continues at a fevered pace, with hospitals and IT vendors competing for employees with the same skills.

A HIMSS study released this summer, which surveyed 225 executives across hospital and health IT vendor sectors, found that 85 percent of respondents had hired at least one employee during 2012, and 79 percent of execs in these sectors plan to bring on more stuff during this year.

This survey found that providers were more likely to be hiring for clinical application support and help desk staff, while vendors were more likely to be hiring on sales and marketing personnel.

Unfortunately, the supply of HIT talent seems to be inadequate — CIOs say that they’re barely meeting their needs — and the educational system can only crank out graduates so quickly. This doesn’t bode well for hospitals, which can only rely on pricey consultants for so long.  Let’s hope someone comes up with a strategy for training up new health IT workers more quickly!

October 16, 2013 I Written By

Anne Zieger is veteran healthcare consultant and analyst with 20 years of industry experience. Zieger formerly served as editor-in-chief of FierceHealthcare.com and her commentaries have appeared in dozens of international business publications, including Forbes, Business Week and Information Week. She has also contributed content to hundreds of healthcare and health IT organizations, including several Fortune 500 companies.