As many CIOs in the industry know, the healthcare talent shortage extends beyond just doctors and nurses; organizations are finding it hard to fill key information technology (IT) roles as well. Despite the talent shortages, the healthcare sector is expected to continue maintaining and improving IT areas such as security, the digital workplace, IT automation, and cloud migration because the alternative is poor patient care, operational inefficiency, and rising maintenance costs.
Healthcare CIOs find it challenging to staff their departments with cybersecurity specialists, data analysts, developers, and other important roles, resulting in the need to do more with less. Learn how CIOs can leverage new and emerging technologies to reduce the impact of the IT healthcare talent shortage on patient care and services.
Why Is There a Healthcare IT Talent Shortage?
Because of the continually increasing business demands and telework computing infrastructures, information technology personnel are generally being hired faster than they can graduate college.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), overall employment in computer and information technology occupations will likely grow 15% from 2021 to 2031, adding about 682,800 new jobs. In addition, an average of 418,500 job openings are projected yearly due to growth and replacement needs.
Another reason for the IT talent shortage is that workers filling positions have left them. According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), companies polled 1,200 IT workers for a report published by TalentLMS, with results suggesting that 72% of those surveyed were considering quitting their jobs in the coming months. Several reasons were cited, including:
- Limited career progression
- Lack of flexibility in working hours
- Toxic environment
- Better opportunities elsewhere
- Performance or capabilities capacity didn’t fit
So, how does this all apply to the healthcare sector? General IT workers specializing in security, IT automation, and storage and database systems can also fit their skills within the healthcare sector. However, there is specialized healthcare IT personnel needed for the following areas:
- General medical and surgical hospitals
- Doctors’ offices
- Outpatient care centers
- Administrative services offices
- Psychiatric and substance abuse hospitals
- General hospitals
- Scientific research and development services
- Computer systems design and related services
- Management, scientific, and related services
- Business support services
- Grantmaking and giving services
A Closer Look at Health Information Technologists and Medical Registrars
For health information technologists (HITs) and medical registrars, who advise health-related facilities on computerized healthcare systems and analyze clinical data, job outlooks from 2021 to 2031 are expected to grow by 17%. That’s much faster than the average for all occupations. It’s also faster than the growth of general IT occupations. The BLS projects that there will be 3,400 job openings each year for Health Information Technologists and Medical Registrars having to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force to become self-employed or retire.
For medical record specialists, who compile, process, and maintain patient files, the job outlook is expected to grow slower than HITs, with only 7% over the next decade. However, the anticipated job openings are much more than HITs, expected at 14,900 job openings per year. Healthcare providers nationwide are transitioning to or already are using electronic health records (EHRs). As a result, medical record specialists are in demand to convert health-related information into standardized codes and maintain that information.
Healthcare Digital Transformation Helps Your Practice Do More With Less
In light of this difficult hiring environment, how can CIOs manage to keep healthcare information technology operations running efficiently with minimal staff? Healthcare facilities can do more with less by:
- Consolidating critical systems
- Incorporating advanced and user-friendly tools
- Automating key business processes or providing more advanced automation
Consolidate Key Systems
Integrating healthcare systems so they can complete multiple processes with less human intervention will reduce the time and energy needed for each task. For example, instead of using an e-prescribe platform, an EHR platform, and a CDS platform separately when prescribing medication, combining these functions into one platform would help save time and produce fewer errors. Also, healthcare IT personnel would only have to take care of one platform instead of three different platforms. Similarly, combining back-of-the-house tools like benefits, recruiting, workforce management, etc. into one human capital management solution can reduce data silos and improve operational efficiency, effectively creating a single source of truth for employee data.
Integrate Advanced and User-Friendly Tools
Cloud-based storage and services that can be accessed instantaneously from any verified device are user-friendly tools for your IT systems. Usually, cloud-based storage and service providers maintain their own platform and cybersecurity methods, requiring fewer in-house IT personnel.
Automate Key Business Processes
Technology can impact the efficiency and accuracy of any process in any industry. Consider automating these processes if you're a healthcare facility that schedules appointments or performs other daily operations manually. Automation, not just in administration duties but in all aspects of healthcare services, would provide more time for patient care and fewer errors when providing that care.
Modernize Legacy Systems
If you're still using legacy systems, hardware, and applications for your healthcare processes, this will increase IT complexity and costs because you need more personnel to maintain the system. Upgrading your legacy systems will:
- Improve process speed and flexibility
- Enable better collaboration between platforms
- Increase data consistency
- Require minimal upkeep and maintenance
Performing a Healthcare Digital Transformation With Fewer People
Getting outside support to take much of the workload off your internal teams will help mitigate IT talent shortages. In addition, external support will provide you with the digital, cloud, and data expertise you may lack because of the IT healthcare talent shortage.
Learn more about how Collaborative Solutions can help healthcare IT teams transform their organizations by visiting our Healthcare page or contact us today for more information.
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