Health IT job market 'robust,' informatics professor says

Personnel who can develop, implement, support, use and sell electronic health records are in a buyer's job market, according to William Hersh, M.D., professor and chair of the Department of Medical Informatics and Clinical Epidemiology at Oregon Health and Science University.

Hersh, in an article published in HITECHAnswers, points to a series of recent surveys and analyses that indicate that the job market for those with EHR training and experience is "robust." Over 80 percent of providers, he says, have added at least one IT full time employee in the past year, and over 90 percent of vendors and consultants have done so, as well. Nearly 60 percent of vendors and consultants have hired more than 20 FTEs in the last year. Meanwhile, 80 percent of providers and 57 percent of vendors reported that lack of fully qualified staff in EHRs was a barrier to their goals.

There were more than 226,000 health IT "core" job postings between 2007 and 2011, Hersh says, which "exceeded expectations." Almost half (48 percent), he adds, were attributable to the Meaningful Use incentive program.  

Hersh, however, speculates that the market may "taper" as the industry moves from implementing EHRs to optimizing them.

"It will remain to be seen how strong the job market remains as the HITECH incentives wind down, although HIT will continue to be a cost of doing business in healthcare, especially as the system moves to payment models that require better management and use of data, such as accountable care organizations and primary care/patient-centered medical homes," he says.

Both the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT and the regional extension centers have developed workforce health IT training programs to increase the number of personnel qualified to work with EHRs.

To learn more:
- read the article