Healthcare News & Insights

How your competitors are attracting health IT pros

Bringing in top IT talent could be a challenge for hospitals, as many different types of organizations are trying to hire additional tech workers. 

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As more hospitals implement electronic health records and other IT systems, those organizations are being forced to compete for a limited pool of health IT workers.

And beyond their peers, healthcare providers are also seeing a lot of competition from health IT vendors and other organizations, according to a recent study from the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS).

Among the 224 organizations — which included providers, delivery systems and health IT vendors — studied, 85% hired at least one tech employee in 2012. That was compared to just 13% that laid people off during that year.

In addition, 79% of the survey respondents said their organization is looking to hire additional staff in the next year.

Much of the competition for health IT employees is coming from vendors. In 2012, half of providers hired between one and five IT workers. In comparison, 50% of vendors said they hired more than 20 employees in that year.

Staffing shortages impacting IT projects

While hospitals and other providers are beefing up their IT departments, many still don’t have the staffing levels they would like. In fact, close to half of providers said they’ve had to put an IT project on hold because of staffing issues.

The top reason cited keeping organizations from meeting their staffing needs: a lack of access to qualified candidates in their region.

Some organizations are responding by outsourcing more of their IT operations to third parties. The majority (76%) outsource at least one service now, while 96% plan to outsource an area within the next year.

That can help ease the burden on the internal IT department, but the survey shows most organizations are still looking to increase their staffing levels. Some of the strategies they’re using to get ahead of the competition and bring in top talent include:

  • Offering professional development opportunities to recruit and retain staff (cited by 60% of providers and 64% of vendors)
  • Covering tuition costs for employees’ continued education (48%, 41%)
  • Paying for membership in professional associations (36%, 41%)
  • Allowing employees to telecommute full- or part-time (29%, 52%)
  • Offering relocation packages to attract employees from other areas (27%, 39%), and
  • Offering signing bonuses to new employees (16%, 29%).

For more, read our earlier post on recruiting and retaining health IT pros.

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