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HCIT - One Bright Spot in This Economy...

December 7, 2008
by Tim Tolan
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Let’s face it – the news about the job market is nothing short of staggering (did I say depressing?). US employers shed 533,000 jobs in November, the largest cut for more than 34 years according to new government data. As of Friday, the unemployment rate rose to 6.7 %. OUCH!! Clearly the country is set for a long drawn-out severe economic downturn and just in case we forget – no problem. The news media provides us with a steady diet of new bad news each and every day. NiceJ

It’s kind of hard to take the bad news every day right? Hold that thought for a moment please…

The healthcare industry is a good place to be right now. I did read

Kate's blog yesterday regarding some NJ hospitals and other hospitals across the US. It's sad. But, while there are some facility closings (in some parts of the country), we as an industry are still better off than our many of our counterparts in other industry sectors. It’s true! The health care industry is one of the few bright spots amid all of the terrible job news we’ve all been hearing about. This year (so far) the healthcare industry has added 369,000 jobs. That’s huge especially in this market!


And… it gets better for the HCIT market!

While global IT spending is expected to contract through next year, the healthcare IT sector should grow, according to new data from research firm Datamonitor. More than 50 percent of respondents saying they're keeping their budget at the same level in 2009 as in 2008. Nearly 37 percent of respondents said they expected to see their IT budgets grow in 2009, while 13 percent expect budget cuts.

I’m not sure these numbers will hold – as this economy is a moving target and where we all end up is anybody’s guess. I also know there are markets where healthcare has shed jobs and closed facilities. I get that. But…but healthcare, as an industry sector, is still far better off than many other vertical markets. We all need to take pause and recognize that we work in the greatest vertical market sector in the US economy. It doesn’t mean that we need to gloat – but we should feel very good about what we do for a living. So the nest time you leave for work , put a spring in your step as you stroll to your car.

We should truly feel blessed to be in healthcare! I do!!!

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Comments

Tim, I attended the eHI annual meeting in Washington DC last week. The concensus there was that the Obama Economic Stimulus package had a very high likelihood of specific and significant focus on HCIT. I hope to pull my notes together and post them soon.

Great post, Tim. While it's important to acknowledge the closures and lay-offs, I think it's also key to look at the bigger picture. You are right in that healthcare, unlike some fields, is growing and is in many ways better off that other industries. Here's hoping that healthcare continues to grow as some are predicting!

Thanks for your feedback Joe. I am reading and hearing the same about Obama's plan. In the December issue of AARP there is an article on his plan to "fix health care". In the article it mentions that Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is working on a plan with Hillary Clinton to encourage providers to adopt EMR. Obama said he will allocate $10B to healthcare providers that implement health information technology systems. Over the weekend during one of his (many) television interviews he once again spoke about the importance of investing in HCIT. The confirmation of his theme regarding investing in HCIT is very encouraging to say the least in this economy.

Tim Tolan

Senior Partner, Sanford Rose Associates Healthcare IT Practice

@@TimTolan

http://sanfordrose.net/thetolangroup/

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