Perfect Storm — What Storm? | Tim Tolan | Healthcare Blogs Skip to content Skip to navigation

Perfect Storm — What Storm?

February 10, 2009
| Reprints

I wrote about the dire predictions of the healthcare IT talent shortage just a short nine months ago. My - how things have changed. And I do mean changed! You know the story. America was about to see huge chunks of its human capital wiped out by 72M baby boomers retiring at the rate of 16K people a day for years. Hey - that’s a lot of boomers!

I’m only guessing those metrics have changed and changed dramatically over the course of the past few months. We are hearing from candidates (like all or most of Americans) that are making drastic changes to the way they spend, save and yes – look at retirement given what has transpired in our economy, cities, neighborhoods and 401K accounts. In some cases, and depending on the age and other financial details from some candidates, retirement in the near term is completely out of the question.

However, there IS a silver lining here if you look hard enough. Let me provide some positive upside in all of this craziness:

  • Healthcare was one of the very few industries that added jobs in 2008 – to the tune of over 300,000 new jobs! That’s huge!
  • HCIT will get a big boost by the news of the economic stimulus bill that passed today!
  • EMR may finally get major traction across the healthcare sector as a result of the new stimulus package.
  • Many new jobs will be created to fill the demand in HCIT on the vendor side and in the CIO’s shop.
  • Like it or not – this new bill will continue to move the needle on healthcare spending as a percentage of the Gross Domestic Product here in the US. Good and bad – right?
  • We have the potential to create newer and better EMR and other technologies as private equity and venture capital companies invest more in the healthcare IT space.
  • If you are reading this blog – your services will probably be in high demand for as long as you want to stay in the workforce.
I know the economy is in the tank and people across America are hurting and I do not have my head in the sand – promise. I just try hard to always look for the silver lining. I do remain bullish about healthcare IT!

Now… did someone mention a storm?




No doubt, we as a country adopted both an entitlement culture and we were also a nation of pure consumption for the past fews years (maybe longer). Using our homes as an ATM machine was never a good strategy and thet is excatly what many Americans did. Now, we are all making a personal "correction" to our spending and saving habits - which is not all bad. I do think that the meltdown was going to happen and sooner is probably better than later as the situation, while challenging today, could have been a lot worse if our old habits had continued for another 5 or 10 years. It is time to pay the piper and we will get thru this. Being in HCIT is truly a good thing from my perspective!

“candidates (like all or most of Americans) that are making drastic changes to the way they spend, save”

Tim, thanks for another great post. I think the most important thing people can take away from it is in your line above. At the core of the current crisis is that fact that America, and probably most of the world, had adopted an entitlement culture, evidenced best by people that buy homes and cars they can’t afford because they feel they “deserve” them, whatever that means. People that live beyond their means are playing Russian Roulette, and those that live just up to them are like those with their mouths peeking above the water line; the slightest ripple causes panic. How many of our reader are having trouble sleeping because they can’t curb their appetites, even in the noble case of wanting to do everything for their children? No job is completely secure, and while there is often little that can be done to increase income (in a tough job market like this) there is always something that can be done to reduce expenses, and thus the burden one has to bear. All of us have been asked to cut our budgets. We find this a bit unpleasant, but part of doing our jobs. Yet how many of us have brought this exercise home and had the tough talk with our spouses and children? While the process might be unpleasant, that night’s sleep will be sounder than any you’ve had in months.