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11/7/2011
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50,000 Health IT Jobs: HIMSS, HR Gurus Want You

Healthcare sees need for 50,000 more IT workers to support implementation of electronic health records and health information exchange. HIMSS and ASHHRA partner to get the word out.

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The largest health IT membership organization is joining with a healthcare human resources group to help promote health IT workforce development and find qualified candidates in a field with a serious labor shortage.

The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), and the American Society for Healthcare Human Resources Administration (ASHHRA) have agreed to collaborate on efforts to attract job seekers to health IT. They will share links, white papers, educational programs, and other resources on each other's website, and generally promote health IT as a career path.

"Both organizations hit it at a different angle," Helen Figge, senior director for career services at HIMSS, told InformationWeek Healthcare.

[Which healthcare organizations came out ahead in the IW500 competition? See 10 Healthcare IT Innovators: InformationWeek 500.]

"We are zooming in on a very succinct population," namely people with technical skills who might not have considered health IT, Figge said. "We want to open their minds, open their eyes, and help them think outside the box."

Many people with IT expertise have lost jobs in other industries in the last couple of years. But healthcare is hiring to fill an expected shortage of 50,000 workers to support implementation of electronic health records and health information exchange. HIMSS and ASHHRA want to let technology professionals know and they want to have access to each other's knowledge.

As HR professionals, ASHHRA members screen job applicants at healthcare companies, but aren't always aware of exactly what IT and health information management departments are looking for. HIMSS expects to help hiring managers differentiate between the many types of health IT jobs that are or soon will be available.

"This will help HR professionals better understand what's needed in the [health IT] landscape," Figge explained. "With this collaboration, we're going to get more people into IT roles than we would otherwise," she added. "In the past, these jobs were siloed."

HIMSS and ASHHRA already are planning a "virtual career fair" and some joint educational programs, according to Figge. "Education is key because processes keep changing," Figge said.

The federal government is devoting $116 million to health IT workforce training in the form of grants to community colleges and graduate medical informatics programs, as well as curriculum development, but that alone won't be enough to make up the entire labor shortage.

HIMSS has started a mentoring/coaching program for some of the organization's 47,000 members to share pearls of wisdom with new entrants to the field. The HIMSS Emerging Professionals Community also hosts monthly webinars. ASHHRA will tap into those resources, among others, Figge said.

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Lisa Henderson
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Lisa Henderson,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/11/2011 | 8:40:54 PM
re: 50,000 Health IT Jobs: HIMSS, HR Gurus Want You
I agree. Some believe that healthcare is very specialized, and to a degree, every industry is. But when you look at the similarities of IT and the needs of the business or the "clients" ...that is the important part. Bringing both IT and clinicians together in a technology discussion would only help both at an organization.

Lisa Henderson, InformationWeek Healthcare, contributing editor
mkorkowski
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mkorkowski,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/10/2011 | 1:28:14 PM
re: 50,000 Health IT Jobs: HIMSS, HR Gurus Want You
Here's how it basically is. The healthcare folks want "healthcare" people. Like others have said. You have all this "IT". experience but have you ever been a nurse? Duh, I'm a technology professional and that is what you need. It would be nice to have the healthcare background but bottom line they need people to make technology happen. Really how many nurses or doctor's are going to become IT pro's? What healthcare has to realize is that they have their experience are and we have ours. We are here to help you that is what we do. Furthermore to not give folks a chance just because they are not "certified" on a particular software is ludicrous. With "ANY" field a pro is a pro. They can adapt. I worked at a machine shop for 15 years and one of my jobs was IT. I knew very little if anything about machining. My job was computers and IT. Once healthcare realizes they will find a plethora of talent.
Mare
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Mare,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/9/2011 | 10:38:35 PM
re: 50,000 Health IT Jobs: HIMSS, HR Gurus Want You
Many other companies want you to be trained and experienced in the several types of HIT software. This doesn't give anyone a chance to get a foot in the door. I am a recent graduate of the HITECH Grant program and because I don't have experience in any one the big (or even new and smaller software companies) they will not interview me.
There are many of us that have the health background but now lack the experience in software applications...it is very frustrating.
AustinIT
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AustinIT,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/9/2011 | 10:33:19 PM
re: 50,000 Health IT Jobs: HIMSS, HR Gurus Want You
I'm one of the "lucky" ones that successfully transitioned from general IT to clinical IT. I made a conscious decision about three years ago to move that direction when I saw the Meaningful Use program begin to gel.

There are a number of reasons that Health Care is looking for IT specialists who, first and foremost, have medical background. It's not like Health Care has existed without technology and all of a sudden needs a boost of outside IT help. Health Care is full of very hitech systems that have largely existed as technology "islands" and now they need to be more integrated with each other. The integration part is key in solving the core issues with information flow... brought to light by the advent of EHR.

Solving the IT modernization of Health Care is not as easy as populating a facility with a few Servers and PC's with some EHR software sprinkled on top. IT has to understand the clinical workflow and the diagnostic devices that will interface into the network/software architecture (EKG, Lab, CT, Xray, PACS, etc.). IT has to take into account all of these various systems in order to knit them together with EHR.

Then, there is the EHR component itself. That one is huge. Another poster mentioned that Epic is one of many (with many being in the neigborhood of about 90 vendors... each with different products). No one can learn all of those systems but they do need to have or acquire as much experience with at least one of those products as possible to understand how they work. The EHR is the linchpin of the organization. It integrates so many of the aforementioned clinical devices and workflows that one therefore needs to understand the clinical process well enough to be effective at their job.

You will likely succeed more quickly if you already have clinical training, are a smooth talker, learn extremely fast, and grab the right opportunities when they present themselves.
DWAGNER077
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DWAGNER077,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/9/2011 | 3:59:09 PM
re: 50,000 Health IT Jobs: HIMSS, HR Gurus Want You
As one of the recently graduated students from an EHR program I am finding it extremely difficult to find a job. As mentioned below most jobs are looking for someone already certified in a specific software program. Another road block is that some of us do not have a clinical or IT background along with our EHR program that leaves another area that we don't qualify for.

I think that one way thru this area of difficulty would be internships offered by companies to teach graduates. The interns would be able to fill a need for the company and they would get some very useful knowledge. If there is an internship program/job out there that I have not found in my searches I would greatly appreciate any information that you can give. If you do not want to post any information on the site my email address is: emaildianewagner@gmail.com
Lisa Henderson
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Lisa Henderson,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/9/2011 | 3:23:34 PM
re: 50,000 Health IT Jobs: HIMSS, HR Gurus Want You
It would be helpful if someone from HIMSS could look at these comments and address some of the questions posed. It seems there are eager people with valid viewpints in need of direction. And, personally, I would join HIMSS if the effort would help me get a job.

Lisa Henderson, InformationWeek Healthcare, contributing editor
mitchg
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mitchg,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/9/2011 | 1:37:38 AM
re: 50,000 Health IT Jobs: HIMSS, HR Gurus Want You
There is clinical IT and then there is regular IT. May explain why they were looking for clinical experience.
marktc
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marktc,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/8/2011 | 11:48:12 PM
re: 50,000 Health IT Jobs: HIMSS, HR Gurus Want You
Now that's attractive to man power coming from the over seas.
Number 6
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Number 6,
User Rank: Moderator
11/8/2011 | 7:39:08 PM
re: 50,000 Health IT Jobs: HIMSS, HR Gurus Want You
Let's review. HIMSS has 47,000 members. There are 50,000 potential jobs to fill. HIMSS will be "helping" the hiring managers.

Sounds like you should join HIMSS or else something, you know, "bad" might happen to your resume, and we wouldn't want that, would we? Kind of like companies joining BSA so they'll be able to avoid those unexpected BSA "audits."

Seriously, though, it sounds like an excellent idea.
cxf
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cxf,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/8/2011 | 7:18:08 PM
re: 50,000 Health IT Jobs: HIMSS, HR Gurus Want You
Snooty retards, the healthcare industry would be lucky to have those of us who've dropped a few million lines of solid code in our careers. I'm happily employed, thanks.
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