Free Hospital EMR and EHR Newsletter Want to receive the latest news on EMR, Meaningful Use, ARRA and Healthcare IT sent straight to your email? Join thousands of healthcare pros who subscribe to Hospital EMR and EHR for FREE!

Healthcare IT Job Corner

Posted on 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 13 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit.

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.

Health IT Pay Keeps Climbing

Posted on December 27, 2013 I Written By

Anne Zieger is veteran healthcare editor and analyst with 25 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. She can be reached at @ziegerhealth or www.ziegerhealthcare.com.

With providers struggling Meaningful Use, ICD-10 and other federal mandates — and already short on staff — IT salaries continue to rise, according to a new HIMSS compensation survey.

According to the HIMSS survey, the average health IT salary was $113,269, with more than two thirds of respondents stating that they had received a raise.  Meanwhile, executive salaries grew 6.1 percent to an average $189,435, while staff pay increased 3.74 percent to $86,536.

IT workers at ambulatory facilities with less than 10 physicians had the lowest compensation ($79,482) but the highest average raise, at 7.98 percent, according to HIMSS.

The average raise for health IT workers was 4.16 percent, substantially more than the average 2.3 percent raise for IT pros in other industries. Nearly half of IT staffers (46.8 percent) said they’d received a bonus, with bonuses averaging 3 to 4 percent of annual salary, FierceHealthIT noted.

The HIMSS survey also pointed out that since 2010, IT salaries have increased 5 percent for men ($130,800) but less than 1 percent for women ($99,523). However, according to IT job site Dice.com, this phenomenon can be explained by the fact that women tend to hold positions that pay less;  researchers found little difference between salaries for men and women holding the same position.

All this being said, if you’re an IT professional looking for a job or hoping to improve on your current situation, we can help. We encourage you to look at the great IT job site we acquired, Healthcare IT Central, or check out some of these popular searches:

We look forward to helping you find your next health IT position.

Study: Health IT Jobs 2.5% Of All Healthcare Hiring

Posted on October 16, 2013 I Written By

Anne Zieger is veteran healthcare editor and analyst with 25 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. She can be reached at @ziegerhealth or www.ziegerhealthcare.com.

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!

Healthcare Generalists vs. Specialists

Posted on August 7, 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 13 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit.

The good people over at Healthcare IS have put together an interesting slide share discussing whether contractors should be generalists or specialists. You can see the slideshow embedded below:

I especially like the chart on slide 6 which shows the way a hiring manager looks at the skill profile of a possible hire. It makes a solid case for why it’s better for a contractor to specialize in one application as opposed to being a generalist that can work on all the various applications.

Of course, this is a great strategy if you choose an application that sticks around for a long time to come. However, if you’re a specialist on an EHR application that gets sunset, then you’re going to regret putting all of your eggs in one basket.

What does seem to hold true is that people who specialize get paid more. I just wonder if someone can specialize in a certain vertical category as opposed to specializing in a particular software application. If someone becomes an expert at implementing lab software across all the top lab software, that seems to be a different way to specialize, but not put your skills all in one vendors basket.

The other way to diversify your skill set is to focus on two major vendors. This way you still have deep expertise in both software systems, but you still have some diversification in case something goes south for a vendor.

The other thing to consider when thinking about being a generalist or a specialist is that most people enjoy being a generalist a lot more than being a specialist. As they say, “variety is the spice of life.” Certainly, there is a lot more to the decision of generalist vs specialist than just money. Although, I’m certain that every generalist who’s out of work would give up that “spice” for a paycheck.

Do you see this trend in your organizations? Do you want to hire the person who’s most specialized over someone who’s more of a generalist?

Hospitals, Vendors Seek New Hires

Posted on July 16, 2013 I Written By

Anne Zieger is veteran healthcare editor and analyst with 25 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. She can be reached at @ziegerhealth or www.ziegerhealthcare.com.

Hospitals and health IT vendors are on something of a hiring binge, with the majority of both groups planning new recruitment over the next 12 months, according to a new study of the health IT workforce from HIMSS Analytics, Healthcare IT News reports.

The HIMSS study, which was published last week, was based on the responses of about 225 executives in the two industry sectors.

More than 85 percent of respondents to the survey said they’d hired at least one employee during 2012, and 79 percent of execs in both industry categories plan to hire additional IT staff during the next year. In sharp contrast, only 13 percent went through layoffs during 2012.

Providers were more likely to say that they were hiring for clinical application support positions and help desk IT staff, while vendors were more likely to be looking for sales and marketing personnel.

Though both segments were hiring, industry vendors were more likely to report having hired staff than providers, according to the Healthcare IT News write-up.

To attract these new hires, both groups cited competitive salary and benefits programs as key, with job boards (70 percent) and employee referrals (69 percent) most frequently used to recruit in both cases.

To retain the staff they recruited, both groups were most likely to use professional development opportunities; telecommuting and tuition reimbursement were also popular.

Despite all of this recruitment activity, some healthcare organizations are falling behind, largely due to the lack of a local qualified talent pool, survey respondents said. And it’s causing problems. In fact, about one-third of providers said that they’d had to put an IT initiative on hold due to staffing shortage.

It’d be nice to think that with the right recruiting razzmatazz in place, these staffing shortages would be a thing of the past. But the reality is, the pool of health IT experts can’t be expanded overnight  — it takes training, possibly subsidized training, and the right kind of training at that.

And as my colleague Jennifer Dennard notes, while certain troublespots are being addressed (for example, building a talent pool for rural hospitals), even those efforts are hamstrung by the reality that students aren’t getting trained on the systems they’ll need to work on when hired.

The reality is that this will continue to be a great time for health IT consultants, even as hospitals and vendors duke it out for permanent  hires.  Hospitals simply can’t put projects of importance off forever.

If you’re looking for a job in healthcare IT or looking to hire someone for a healthcare IT position, be sure to check out the EMR and EHR Job board. It gets a lot of visibility in the sidebar of all the Healthcare Scene blogs.

Why an Everyday Player is NEVER the Designated Hitter

Posted on May 2, 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 13 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit.

The following is a guest post by Jeff Urban.
MedSys - Jeff Urban
Jeff Urban is the Area Vice President of MedSys Group where he is responsible for the management of business development in the West, Great Lakes, and Desert regions. He is in charge of the development of Regional Account Executives and Area Account Managers for each region. Jeff is also a member of the strategy management team, which is comprised of the core leadership of the organization. He also participates in the process improvement team.

With the introduction of the affordable care act, the ubiquitous feeding frenzy for HIT talent began in 2009, and has yet to slow down. As the shortage of individuals escalates, pay has accelerated to levels unseen. Hiring full-time employees by hospitals has become less commonplace, as the demand and upside of consulting is too lucrative for talent to turn down. Prices are increasing, and the current model is becoming unsustainable. As competition becomes fiercer and decisions are being made faster and without adequate time for proper due diligence, many hospitals and staff augmentation firms feel they have found a way out. The belief that a pure Information Technology individual, once trained, can fill the role of a Healthcare IT Subject Matter Expert (SME) is becoming more widely accepted, and if perpetuated, has the chance to create more issues than it solves.

With baseball season, we will undoubtedly hear more baseball rhetoric. I tend to think of a hospital’s IT individuals as a baseball team. The everyday players have an understanding of the entire game, fielding, hitting, base running, etc., while the designated hitter or DH is an individual that only hits. He has lots of power, and the team wants him to focus on hitting, nothing else. He is, in all accounts of the word, a specialist. You can think of IT and HIT in the same context. SME’s are just that… specialist. They focus on their niche’, and know every aspect of it.

When a market changes and the specialists are now more in demand, organizations (including baseball teams) will look for less costly alternatives to fill the void. An everyday player at a lower rate, if trained correctly, can certainly take the DH role, they believe. However, the results are all too many times, in complete contrast to the ultimate goal.

Everything comes down to the intricacies of the role. At the specialist level, the slightest mistake can quickly become a glaring issue. In baseball, ½ inch can mean the difference between a home run and a lazy fly ball. Thus, the attention to detail needed is extremely high. SME’s, not unlike the designated hitter, have more specific issues than typical IT individuals. None of which are more prevalent than trust. The users (physicians and clinicians) must have trust that the SME has an understanding of what they face on a daily basis. Change management can be a very demanding task and this is made dramatically more difficult if the users do not believe the SME has a strong understanding of how one clinical workflow intertwines with another. Without this experience, the non-specialist can unknowingly prioritize certain goals without the needed correlation to user adoption. With no clinical background the ability to deliver customizable products with an ease of use, as to not weaken patient safety and timeliness, is diminished rapidly.

If you have ever listened to the play-by-play analysts of a baseball game, you can become lost in what they are talking about. With terms like RBI, ERA, OBP, WHIP, etc. it can seem like they are speaking a foreign language that only they can understand. One may get pieces, but disseminating that information can be very difficult. Healthcare is no different. Thus, the other glaring weakness of the transitioning pure IT individual is terminology. Communication is a key component to a successful implementation. If the learning curve of terminology is drastically high, the project can screech to a crawl. More importantly if communication is misunderstood, it can dramatically influence the final outcome’s success or failure. Thus, in a sense, SME’s have developed more art than science in language and processes. This makes transition very difficult.

If just training won’t cut it, what can a hospital do to alleviate the costs? One thought becoming more common is the training of tech-savvy clinicians, often called super-users. While a clinician shortage has tamed this somewhat, the idea of giving a super-user the necessary classroom knowledge, is still much less painful than the alternatives. Another practice rapidly becoming popular is teaming a super user with a SME. The knowledge transfer can be relatively seamless, and will perpetuate trust. Once the super user is fully trained, the hospital gained another specialist, making the entire team stronger. While both thought processes hold merit, they do come with drawbacks. Most importantly taking clinicians from an already understaffed area can have far reaching affects. Also, as a hospital organically grows, it opens itself up to competition. The specialists are valuable, and with other hospitals willing and able to take talent, the primordial revolving door can take hold quickly. There is nothing more frustrating for a hospital executive than to train an employee to only lose them to a competitor.

While an everyday player can substitute for the DH on some things, and relieve some stress, the possible downside makes the transition a tricky one at best. An everyday player may make contact, but is that what is needed at this time? With deadlines approaching quickly, I’d rather have my specialist at the plate, as he gives my team the best chance at a homerun, and thus winning.

Survey: Healthcare CIOs Average $200K In Annual Base Salary

Posted on April 9, 2013 I Written By

Anne Zieger is veteran healthcare editor and analyst with 25 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. She can be reached at @ziegerhealth or www.ziegerhealthcare.com.

While numbers varied widely depending on organizational factors, healthcare CIOs earned an average base salary of $208,417 in 2012, according to a recent survey conducted by CHIME.

The survey, which drew responses from small, medium-sized, large and rural facilities, drew responses from 263 CIOs from late December 2012 and early January 2013.

Some key findings from the survey included the following:

Multi-hospital, academic medical center execs make more  The average base salary reported for multi-hospital system execs was $254,054. and the academic medical center CIOs reported an average $243,229 base salary.

Smaller-hospital CIOs make much less  Top IT execs at the smallest hospitals, CAHs with 25 beds or less, got an average base salary of $125,573. Execs at hospitals with fewer than 200 beds reported an average base salary of $150,956, or about 28 percent than the overall average, notes iHealthBeat.

Standalone execs make less  CIOs with stand-alone community hospitals also responded lower income than the average, at $178,786, roughly 14 percent less than the overall average.

*  Titles matter, a lot  Hospital leaders with the title of CIO had average base salaries of $199,890, about four percent less than the overall survey average, but when they had additional titles salaries went up starkly. CIOs who were also titled vice president had an average salary of $206,788, while those with CIO and executive vice president had an average salary of $310,326, or almost 49 percent over average.  Meanwhile directors of IS or IT averaged $128,193, or about 38 percent less than the survey average.

Reporting relationships count As iHealthBeat reports, salaries varied depending on who the CIO reports to in the organization.  The 44 percent of respondents who report to the CEO earned ann average of $217,170, or about 4 percent more than average.  Meanwhile, those reporting to the CFO earned an average base salary of $175,263, or 16 percent less than the average of salaries reported.

Few and small raises reported  Despite the huge amount on health IT execs’ plates, most survey respondents reported minimal  pay raises, with almost 75 percent saying that their base salaries increased by less than 5 percent between 2011 and 2012.

So, readers, how do these numbers look to you?  Do they reflect the realities of your institutions? And how about those low raises — think hospitals are risking losing critical talent by holding that line?

Health IT Worker Shortage Worse Than Expected

Posted on March 14, 2013 I Written By

Anne Zieger is veteran healthcare editor and analyst with 25 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. She can be reached at @ziegerhealth or www.ziegerhealthcare.com.

Battered by growing needs and increasing competition, managers hiring for health IT face a worse shortage than previously expected, according to research by PwC.  Because hiring needs are so acute, many healthcare hiring executives are expecting to change strategies for hiring over the next year, the consulting firm reports.

Right now, 75 percent of providers are currently hiring health IT employees, PwC found. But it’s not the same old same old when it comes to recruiting approaches. Over the next year, more than three-quarters of  health execs expect to shift strategies in hiring, thanks to mounting pressures both internal and external.

These pressures are varied. Seventy-nine percent of those surveyed by PwC expect an increase in technology investments in the coming year, 62 percent are worried about the availability of needed skills, and 51 percent are threatened by the speed of technology change, PwC’s research found.

Meanwhile, it’s not just competition with other providers that has healthcare CIOs worried. According to PwC, they face health IT labor competition from drug and device companies, HIT vendors and health insurance firms as well.

When it comes to skills, providers said clinical informatics was most important in meeting their goals. But they’re willing to compromise, and are increasingly borrowing IT specialists from other industries to meet their hiring needs.

To gain an advantage in health IT hiring, employers must pull off a neat trick, the building of their reputation as a place to work, PwC advises. Researchers note that providers who build their IT identity and brand will be in the best position to hire, manage and most of all keep key health IT workers on board.

EMR and EHR Jobs

Posted on October 1, 2012 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 13 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit.

One of the big challenges that is talked about all the time on healthcare IT and EMR is how to find a job or how to find the right person for the job that you have. I think it’s a bit of a strange environment, because I know a lot of companies that are talking about the challenge of finding qualified people. On the other hand I also know a lot of people that are looking for health IT jobs. Many who look to be very qualified. Given this, I always wonder how much of the problem is just connecting the right people and jobs together.

One thing that I started a number of years back was to create an EMR and EHR job board. I started it first on EMR and HIPAA. It’s done quite well on that site and so as I’ve done the redesign of the various websites in the Healthcare Scene blog network I’ve added the EMR and EHR job listings to every site on the network.

How it works is quite simple. If you’re looking for a job, go and take a look at the EMR jobs that are listed. If you have a job that you’re trying to fill, then you can post the job. Once the job is posted, it will appear on the EMR job board, and will also appear in the list of EMR jobs in the sidebar of the various Healthcare Scene blogs. Simple as that. I hope many will continue to find this service useful.