Thursday, September 25, 2014

Continued Good News for the Health IT Workforce

The job and career opportunities in health information technology (HIT) continue to grow, even though we are reaching the end of the "stimulus" of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act. Two recent surveys from HIMSS Analytics and show that the bullish attitude I maintain about jobs and careers in HIT and informatics is warranted.

The HIMSS Analytics Survey queried 200 senior executives form healthcare provider and vendor organizations. About 79% reported plans to hire in the following year in last year's (2013) survey,with 84% reporting that they did actually hire during that year. About 82% report planning to hire in the coming year, with about half planning to hire 1-5 FTE and the remainder planning to hire more (10% plan to hire more than 20 FTE!).

The top hiring needs for provider organizations in the past year were in:
  • Clinical Application Support - 64%
  • Help Desk - 57%
  • IT Management - 45%
  • Project Management - 35%
  • IT Security - 34%
The top hiring areas for vendors and consultants were:
  • Sales/Marketing Team - 78%
  • Field Support Staff - 75%
  • Support Staff - 73%
  • Executive Team - 60%
Similar to other surveys in the past, this one continued to show ramifications to organizations due to lack of adequate or qualified staff. About 35% of organizations reported projects being put on hold due to lack of staff, with 38% reported scaling back IT projects for the same reason.

The survey focused more on salaries. It found an average salary of near $90K, with 30% of respondents reporting receiving a bonus at an average of around $13K. Salaries were highest among the following types of positions:
  • Project managers - $111K
  • Healthcare informatics - $94K
  • Systems analyst - $82K
  • Implementation consultant - $81K
  • Clinical applications - $78K
  • Training - $74K
Not surprisingly, salary increased with experience and was also higher for those with healthcare IT experience ($89K) than without ($54). Certification was also associated with higher earnings. Salary varied by geographic region (highest in the Mid-Atlantic and lowest in the Midwest and Southeast) and by EHR vendor experience (highest for Epic and lowest for Allscripts and Meditech). About 80% reported job satisfaction, with the most common reasons being ability to learn new skills, ability to advance careers, and income potential.

These surveys show that informatics continues to be a rewarding career, with good pay and strong job satisfaction. Nothing is certain in healthcare, but the opportunities for careers in informatics will likely be strong in the foreseeable future.

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