Creative solutions to HIT training challenges

Healthcare CIOs--like their peers in other industries--are taking some creative steps to deal with a shortage of IT workers who are well-versed in new and evolving technologies, such as cloud computing, wireless networking and big data analytics, according to a Computerworld article.

For example, Cook Children's Health Care System in Texas has doubled its IT staff over the last few years to deal, not only with its rapid expansion, but also with increasing demands, including regulatory issues and privacy and security pressures.

The organization has created a "pod" training program that groups three IT employees with different skills, CIO Theresa Meadows told Computerworld.

Meadows places experienced employees, mid-term workers and new hires on a team in order to gain confidence in existing and new skills, she said.

"On the Citrix team, there was one Citrix admin who was really our only skilled administrator who is now training the other two," she said. "The other two are training him on the newer skills just coming into our organization."

The pod training concept is particularly useful for employees who have received technical training but don't have hands-on experience.

Other tactics outlined in the article include embedding IT workers in business departments to help educate them on the relationship between IT and business and rotating staff into new job roles for six-month periods to aid cross-training.

Earlier this week, a study of seven Veterans Affairs hospitals found that staff training was one of five top factors in the success of IT project implementation.

"A successful HIT implementation requires substantial dedication of resources, particularly personnel resources," the authors of the study, published in the American Journal of Managed Care, wrote. "Healthcare leaders must expect that there will be setbacks during an HIT implementation, and must push through these setbacks thoughtfully and deliberately."

To learn more:
- read the Computerworld article
- here's the American Journal of Managed Care study

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