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    Health Care IT Staff Shortages Putting Initiatives on Hold

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    Study Finds Data Exchange Growing Through EHR Adoption

    Health IT is still experiencing growing pains. After its most recent annual leadership survey found staffing difficulties cited as a major barrier to implementing IT initiatives in health care organizations, the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) created a new workforce survey.

    After 224 hospital and health care system IT executives were queried, the results included the following points of concern:

    • 3 out of 4 organizations plan to hire IT staff in the next year.
    • 31 percent of organizations have put an IT initiative on hold because of staffing shortages.
    • 43 percent of organizations said the lack of a qualified talent pool was the biggest challenge to full staffing levels, and 56 percent of vendor organizations said the same thing.

    To pursue needed staff, the organizations in the survey plan to use or are using professional development opportunities (61 percent), and other perks like telecommuting or tuition reimbursement. Outsourcing, however, also remains a significant initiative staffing strategy: 76 percent report that they currently outsource services, and 93 percent will do so in the next year.

    An article at Healthcare-Informatics.com includes a somewhat despairing suggestion from an industry consultant that health care organizations might partner with universities to develop a larger talent pool for the mid- to long-term future.

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