Monday, September 24, 2012
In a world of interoperability, e-prescribing, real-time metrics-management, and “big data,” all roads lead to an increase in the use of technology to retain competitive advantage. It reminds me of the Benjamin Disraeli quote – “As a rule, he or she who has the most information will have the greatest success in life.”
If the organization with most information will have the greatest success, finding the talent to produce that “information” will be key to success. But there may be a small problem with the talent equation. The Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) estimates that there will be a shortage of approximately 50,000 health information technology workers in the U.S. In a similar analysis, a report by the Department of Health Information Management at Texas State University-San Marcos estimates a 10,000 worker shortage in 2013 in Texas alone.
In an effort to meet this demand, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) has funded four workforce development programs:
Community College Consortia – As part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), funding was provided for universities and community colleges to train HIT workers to help meet this need in the health care industry. Students in this program need hands-on experience, and I have found that they are a ready-pool of eager and qualified candidates (having completed the program myself, my fellow students were PhDs, MDs, RNs, computer specialists, and software engineers, all with prior health care or IT backgrounds).
Curriculum Development Centers – These centers develop the educational materials used in the Community College Consortia programs, plus are made available to institutions of higher education across the county. These materials are focused on developing information management specialists, consultants, tech implementation specialists and managers, and IT support.
Competency Exam Program – These programs test two groups of future professionals for technology competency, individuals from non-degree IT programs and individuals who are already employed with relevant experience and previous training.
University-Based Training – This training has a slightly different focus than the first three programs, focusing instead on advanced study or master’s degrees for clinicians, public health leaders, health information management, exchange management, privacy and security specialist, researchers, and software engineers/programmers.
Looking for more solutions? The push to mobilize the industry has also led to the development of the Beacon Community Cooperative Agreement Program, the Strategic Health IT Advanced Research Projects (SHARP) Program, Regional Extension Centers (REC’s), and State Health Information Exchange Programs.
Want to hear more about these programs and how to use them in your own workforce development? You can e-mail me at email@example.com. And for a deeper look into workforce issues, join me on October 17 in Baltimore for The 2012 OPEN MINDS Technology & Informatics Institute, where I will team up with David R. Hunt, M.D., Medical Director, Health IT Adoption & Patient Safety with the ONC and Kay Gooding, Director Region D HITECH Workforce Training Program at Pitt Community College to present A New Health Care Workforce: The Tech & Informatics Skills Service Provider Organizations Need & How To Get Them.
Lisette Wright, M.A.
Senior Associate, OPEN MINDS
For another free resource, see: “Growing” The Tech-Savvy Staff You Need all members
This is free for the next sixty days to all registered OPEN MINDS Circle members.