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Survey: Most Orgs. Still Hiring Health IT Professionals

August 21, 2014
by Gabriel Perna
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The number of healthcare IT professionals being hired continues to grow at a rapid pace a recently released study conducted by HIMSS Analytics concluded.

The Chicago-based analytics arm of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) surveyed 200 people representing U.S.-based healthcare providers, vendors and consulting organizations on health IT staffing needs and experiences of these types of organizations in 2014. What they found is that 84 percent of organizations hired at least one staff member in 2014, which is consistent with the 2013 survey (86 percent). Most of these hires were both replacements and new hires. Further, 82 percent of respondents plan to hire at least one full time employee in the next 12 months.

“The lack of local qualified health IT workers, whether real or not, is a very real concern for many. And in an industry in which recruiting workers away from other healthcare organizations is fairly common practice, IT recruiters and staffing agencies are clearly seen to be the most effective recruitment resource at a healthcare employer’s disposal,” Lorren Pettit, vice president of research at HIMSS Analytics, said in a statement. “I wouldn’t be surprised to see the use of recruiters increase as a preferred recruitment resource as the demand for select IT professionals increases.”

The most hired position for providers in the past year was clinical application support with 64 percent of respondents saying they brought on someone in this area. Further, 30 percent of respondents said they outsourced that area. Confirming the fact this is a sought after area is the fact that 58 percent of providers say they will hire in this area in 2014. In terms of layoffs, 87 percent of organizations didn’t make a single one. This is down from 91 percent from the year before. Oddly enough, the top area for layoffs was also clinical application support.

The numbers suggest that vendors and consultants are hiring a lot of people. Forty-seven percent of vendor and consultant respondents hired more than 20 full time employees. Respondents indicates that most will continue to hire at this rate in 2015. The most popular areas were in sales and marketing and field/support staff.

Employee referrals was the most commonly used tool by healthcare organizations to hire new staff, with 75 percent of respondents saying they use this method. Most organizations say they are not putting projects on hold due to an IT staff shortage, although a signficant amount have (one-third of the respondents). The biggest barrier to hiring is the lack of a qualified talent pool, says most respondents (69 percent).

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