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I've Got Talent on my Mind

March 19, 2011
by Tim Tolan
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After months of forecasting—this talent shortage is more than real

I’m curious as to how CIO’s are dealing with the talent war that is now reached a point where most of us can clearly ‘feel it”. We do! After months of pontificating and forecasting - this talent shortage is more than real. While we do lots of executive level engagements, we do have clients that ask us to find candidates at the director level (everybody today needs a cadre of doers). For many of you that (actually) had a strategy and a plan – I hope your team IS deliverING the goods. For those that still have talent needs at or below the director level – I wish you the very best.

I have been saying for months that this shortage is real (ok – for years). In my opinion, the government stimulus is probably just a down payment on the investments that will be made in this marketplace for the next 10-20 years. So... this business issue will continue to be challenging for those who wait or don’t adapt new strategies. I talked to a candidate that manages an implementation team a few weeks ago and she told me she now receives 2-3 calls a week from organizations and recruiters that espouse greener pastures for the skills she brings to the party. I believe her. I also believe that by simple supply and demand the salary bands for people with her skills will soar over the next few years until this industry has more people that understand HCIT. In other words, we will all need more doers for the foreseeable future. Some candidates claim they have multiple offers and they are in a great spot to start a bidding game to see who wants to really pay up for their talent. OUCH!

So what are you doing and how are you faring in this war for HCIT talent. I can tell you that if you have open job requisition(s) that have been open for a while, you are not alone. And in all likelihood those req’s may be open a bit longer. There are lots of openings and there will be for a (very) long time! You can count on that! Welcome to the HCIT talent wars of 2011 and beyond! I, for one, love to solve problems like this one far more than the challenges we had in late 2008 and all of 2009 – but let’s not go there. Nope, I’d rather not! It was not pretty.

Onward and upward!

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Comments

Good question, lbrock. To learn about vendors or specific vendors, I'd recommend reading, watching, attending and OJT.

A vendor's product is only as good as the provider organization who can breath life into it. So, I would recommend reading a few Davies award winner stories. They are freely available on the HIMSS site, describe the goals and how specific vendors products have been rolled out and used. They include screen shots, elaborations of benefits achieved as well as planned. And, they've been vetted by some of the smartest people in the industry. Relevant training follows the specific strategies, processes, and change management principles that serve as a compass for using these products.

Watching refers to attending conferences, either in person, or virtually. This can range from free (lots of great stuff on the internet), volunteering with, say HIMSS to get a free pass to an otherwise not-free event, local HIMSS chapter meetings, etc. Watching is different from reading in that people tend to be more candid and balanced when they present than when they write. If you are focused on a specific vendor, their annual user group meeting should be your focus for unvarnished tales of their better successes.

OJT refers to on-the-job training. Take on a project or project component, if only a research project. For example, if you are interested in BI Dashboards, get Ken Ong's recent 2nd edition medical informatics HIMSS book and read Bert Reese's chapter on the topic. You'll end up with a very practical perspective on the topic.

Returning to Tim's original topic of talent and talent wars, "breaking into the HIT industry" is a matter of establishing that you have the native talent and passion to be a great contributor. Distinct from talent, are skills and knowledge. Doing the research I've outlined above well address the knowledge gaps and getting you started on the skills inventory. Combine that with your existing talents and you'll have a sure path to the career growth you are looking for.

Good luck!

What advice can you give to those people wanting to break into the HIT industry and learn EHR? As far as I know, there aren't many colleges out there teaching HIT or specific EMR. For vendors, the only vendor training on specific EMR is when new facilities purchase that EMR from the vendor.

For example, what if I want to learn how to use EPIC but my facility does have EPIC?

Once again - Joe could not have said it better! Thanks for your post and thanks to Joe for answering your question!

Lbrock: Recently the ONC announced that they were starting a blog series on the Community College Consortia to Educate Health Information Professionals. Take a look at this link- it might help:

http://healthit.hhs.gov/portal/server.pt/community/healthit_hhs_gov__community_college_program/1804

Tim Tolan

Senior Partner, Sanford Rose Associates Healthcare IT Practice

@@TimTolan

http://sanfordrose.net/thetolangroup/

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