The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH Act), which provides funding to healthcare providers for the adoption and “meaningful use” of EHRs, has generated a huge demand for health IT professionals. This demand has created a new niche recruiters who have the ability to place profesisonals with the unique skills set needed to fill these positions.
One recruiter who is focusing his efforts on this niche is Raymond Gooch, CPC, of Spectrum Career, LLC, who also serves on the faculty at a local college for the ONC’s Health IT Workforce Development training program and is strategically aligned with the HIT Midwest Consortium of Colleges and the Ohio Hospital Association (OHA) to promote individuals successfully completing the training program.
Gooch says that healthcare providers need IT professionals who are not only technically skilled but who can also communicate effectively with medical professionals. This is a hard combination to come by. The need is so great that many larger healthcare organizations are on a never-ending search for experienced professionals. The challenge is that experienced health IT professionals are in extremely short supply.
“I’ve had hospitals tell me, word for word ‘I have no problem finding quality IT professionals on my own. But I can’t find quality IT professionals that understand healthcare,’” Gooch said. “Hospitals would strongly prefer individuals who have a healthcare background and have crossed over into IT. That’s a slim pool of people.”
According to a recent HIMSS (Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society) survey, inadequate staffing resources was the main barrier to IT implementation for 25% of healthcare providers surveyed.
Hospitals and other healthcare providers often choose contractors to fill their open health IT positions, Gooch said. Cost containment is a major reason. Often, providers only need to augmenti their staff for the completion of specific, short-term health IT initiatives.
“Projects are often implemented in a burst of activity, and then they trail off,” Gooch said. “For example, a hospital may need Health IT Implementation professionals for several months, and then when the implementation phase is over, they don’t need them anymore. Smaller physician practices can’t afford a full-time IT professional on staff, so contractors are a great solution.”
Debbie Fledderjohann is the President of Top Echelon Contracting, Inc.
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