Skilled worker shortage a primary concern for many healthcare CIOs

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For chief information officers (CIOs) in the healthcare sector, financial limitations and interoperability issues are not the primary causes for concern in today’s medical technology industry. According to the annual survey of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), a lack of qualified healthcare IT workers is the most significant challenge for many CIOs, reports Information Week.

The results of the survey indicate that more than 20 percent of CIOs polled revealed a lack of skilled healthcare IT workers was their biggest worry, displacing financial restrictions for the first time in 10 years. Budgetary limitations were the second-greatest challenge facing CIOs in healthcare IT, with 14 percent of the 300 respondents saying financial issues were their most significant problem.

A limited talent pool in healthcare IT was addressed at the HIMSS Conference in Las Vegas earlier this week. Kay Hix, vice president and CIO of Carillon Clinic in Roanoke, Virginia, acknowledged that care providers were competing for a select few skilled healthcare IT workers with software developers, third-party vendors and high-end consultancy organizations.

Despite the limited number of skilled healthcare IT workers, many organizations are actively attempting to expand their workforce to prepare for the impending deadline for the transition to the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, 10th Revision. Stage two certification deadlines for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ meaningful use federal financial incentives for medical informatics usage is also placing healthcare IT personnel resources under pressure at some facilities.

According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for medical informatics technicians is expected to significantly outpace job growth in many other industries, and prospects for skilled healthcare IT workers could be very promising for candidates with solid computer software training.