Friday, July 9, 2010

Where Are the Jobs? Read While You Wait

As readers of this blog know, I am bullish about careers in informatics and the optimal training to acquire and perform them successfully. Increasingly I am asked, where are the jobs? Or a variant, which is, why are the jobs not more plentiful, especially with all the funding coming from HITECH?

My answer to these questions is, just wait! We are all waiting for the final "meaningful use" rules, which are supposedly set to be released next week. Once they do, hospitals and clinical practices will have a clear picture of what they need to do to quality for the electronic health record (EHR) adoption incentives and make their implementation (and hiring) plans accordingly. But until the final rules are set in stone, most are taking a wait-and-see attitude. Some organizations are not waiting, while others predict a strong upcoming need for consultants.

In the meantime, there are plenty of places to look for jobs. Probably the best sources are the various "job mines," both those from informatics/IT organizations, such as AMIA, AHIMA, or HIMSS, as well as health IT publications, such as Healthcare IT News and Healthcare Informatics. For physicians, a list of Chief Medical Information/Informatics Officer (CMIO) can be found on the AMDIS Web site.

Speaking of jobs and the workforce, I have also published a substantially updated version of my review of health IT workforce research in the journal Applied Clinical Informatics. The article not only reports all of the latest research I am aware of, but also analyzes the data according to five themes: quantities and staffing ratios, job roles, gaps and growth, leadership qualifications, and education and competencies. There is still much we do not know, and no one can truly predict the impact of programs like HITECH.

I am also delighted to have discovered an interesting and comprehensive new resource about the HITECH program called HITECH Answers. They have even asked me to serve as one of their resident experts, and will be publishing excerpts from this blog.

In the meantime, those wanting to learn more about the field can always enroll in the next offering of the OHSU-AMIA 10x10 course, which begins around July 20, 2010. I will no doubt be furiously updating some of my materials when the final meaningful use criteria are released.

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