The details of the federal government's HITECH stimulus legislation are not final, but healthcare organizations are getting their IT teams in order now.
The mad rush for e-medical records and other health IT products is expected soon. But some IT staffing and consulting firms have already seen an uptick in demand for clinical-IT related talent as healthcare organization begin to evaluate, deploy, and support e-health systems.
The details of the federal government's HITECH stimulus legislation are still being worked out -- the final definition of "meaningful use" of health IT won't be done until end of this year. But that isn't holding back some healthcare organizations from getting their IT teams in order.
"Our healthcare clients have increased their hiring by 30% over last year," said Shannon Salter, an IT practice manager for the Denver office of IT outsourcing and staffing firm Hudson. The surge in demand for healthcare IT talent is something Hudson has been seeing this year in its other regional offices, too, including Dallas and Chicago.
The increased activity is reminiscent of another government-fueled frenzy for expertise and consulting seen a few years ago, Salter said. "This is healthcare's Sarbanes-Oxley," she said, referring to government's wave of new regulatory requirements in the financial services industry in the early 2000s.
Hudson saw a spike in requests for healthcare IT consultants in Q1 and Q2, which slowed down slightly during part of the summer but is popping up again now, said Salter.
Other staffing firms also report IT hiring activity among healthcare companies. A survey of 244 healthcare CIOs conducted recently by IT staffing firm Robert Half Technology found that 5% plan to increase hiring in the fourth quarter, compared to CIOs overall in the U.S. across all industries, where demand for IT talent is flat.
InformationWeek has published an in-depth report on e-health and the federal stimulus package. Download the report here (registration required).