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.