A total of 163 out of CHIME's 1400+ members, mostly chief information officers (CIOs), responded to the survey during July, 2012. A similar survey had been administered in 2010. All sizes (from 0-99 to 1000+) and types (academic, community, and multi-hospital) of healthcare provider organizations responded.
About 67% of respondents reported that their organizations were experiencing shortages. This was compared with 59% in 2010. The highest category having unmet needs was academic centers, reported by 82%. About 12% of organizations reported 15% or more positions being open.
The survey asked about skills most often in demand, which included:
- Clinical software implementation and support staff (e.g., EHR, CPOE) - 74%
- Infrastructure staff - 47%
- Business software implementation and support staff - 45%
The survey also assessed awareness of the HIT Workforce Programs of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) . Only 67% were aware of the ONC workforce programs, with 12% of those respondents reporting that they had hired graduates from them. (Unfortunately the survey did not distinguish knowledge of and hiring from community college versus university-based programs.)
The respondents reported their chief strategies for coping with IT staff shortages, which included:
- Hiring third-party consultants - 28%
- Hiring from within the organization and retraining - 20%
- Other (multiple strategies) - 18%
- Using recruiters to find and place qualified staff - 15%
- Depending on HIT vendors to provide implementation staff - 8%
- Other kinds of outsourcing - 6%
- Developing a pipeline of students by collaborating with local colleges and universities - 2%
- Actual experience in a health IT shop
- Clinical informatics experience
- Education in IT theory and practice in a real-world setting
- Coding knowledge
- Willingness to start “at the bottom” in an IT shop
- Education in IT theory and practice in a classroom setting
- Lack of knowledge of healthcare and related IT applications
- Lack of practical experience
- Lack of experience with an organization’s system
- Inability to interact successfully with front-line users
1. Anonymous (2012). Demand Persists for Experienced Health IT Staff. Ann Arbor, MI, College of Healthcare Information Management Executives. http://www.cio-chime.org/chime/press/surveys/pdf/CHIME_Workforce%20_survey_report.pdf.
2. Hersh, W. (2012). Update on the ONC for Health IT Workforce Development Program. HIMSS Clinical Informatics Insights. July, 2012. http://www.himss.org/ASP/ContentRedirector.asp?ContentId=80559&type=HIMSSNewsItem;src=cii20120709.