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Getting Creative in Filling Vacancies

February 28, 2012
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During one of the HIMSS Roundtable discussions, the topic of recruiting IT talent from other industries, and how to migrate them to Healthcare IT kept coming up. The vast majority of CIO’s and Directors all agreed that we must tap into this talent pool, but these candidates lacked needed skills necessary to relate to clinicians and they did not understand the unique challenges of Healthcare.

So I was pleasantly surprised when navigating through the vendor booths at HIMSS this year that I stumbled upon a section for advanced degrees and certification opportunities. The bright spot of these organizations by far was the University of West Florida booth. There I had the opportunity to meet Dr. Robert Hoyt and Dr. Ann Yoshihashi. They are both passionate about the advancement of Health Informatics. They have been working diligently to develop education programs for those folks just starting in Healthcare IT or for those that are seeking to improve their understanding of our industry.

One of the ways Dr. Hoyt and Dr. Yoshihashi are doing this is by offering a Medical Informatics Certificate Program Online, through the University of West Florida. Given the earlier Roundtable discussion about the lack of qualified candidates, I thought this was an excellent opportunity for those seeking careers in Healthcare IT or for some of our Analysts that wanted to move up the career ladder. They also published a book that I was able to review and I think it is a must for CIO’s to share with their staff or update their library with the latest insight. The book is called “Health Informatics – Practical Guide for Healthcare and Information Technology Professional -Fifth Edition.” Just so you know, they don’t personally make any money on this; all proceeds of the book are donated to the UWF Foundation for the support of health informatics education. The book is available as a paperback and eBook (pdf) at Here is the direct link: it has been a long time since I have recommended a book, so I don’t this lightly.

I hope to see these programs expand in the future and for HIMSS to place these organizations front and center of the vendor booths. Imagine all the super users and nurses that we can tap into by sending them through these programs and filling some of those vacancies with qualified candidates in the process! A total win-win.



There are programs designed by the ONC for Electronic Health Records certification thru the College Consortium which was funded by ARRA. I have a background in IT in the pharma industry and I took this 6 month certification. At the end of the certification program, you are qualified to take the ONC exams. I have taken and passed 2 of the 5 exams offered. I completed all requirements by September 2011. Finding a job has been a challange in Health IT regarding EHR's. Most hospitals and healthcare organizations require certifications in spefic software such as: NextGen, Allscripts, eClinicalWorks,Epic as well as others. Vendors are not willing to allow community colleges with EHR certifications to use their software. The only way to get certifications with various software is to work for the vendor themselves or for an organization willing to pay the vendor to certify the individual in their software, which is quite costly. Most vendors do not have the option for individuals to get the certifications from them. This is the major lack of well qualified individuals with EHR certifications and an IT background for even being considered or applying for job openings for Healthcare IT.