Hospitals nationwide are racing against the clock to ensure their health IT systems meet meaningful use guidelines. The incentive? Money, of course. Systems that meet certain criteria make doctors eligible for up to $44,000 in bonus money from the government.
As mentioned on this blog previously, implementing an electronic health system is difficult. The usability of the current generation of electronic health records (EHRs) is still relatively primitive, especially when compared to other industries, and the disruption in workflow is undeniable. Worse, there seems to be a lack of trained IT professionals to do the job.
In a recent piece from American Medical News:
60% of hospital IT executives believe tech staffing shortages, which some estimate to be a shortfall of 50,000 qualified IT professionals, will definitely or possibly affect their chances to achieve meaningful use.
It’s a problem.
And what about small, independent practices that may not have the budget for a health IT staff? They’re likely to run into additional trouble, as well. Not only is health IT staff difficult to find, “Apparently, EHR vendors may be overwhelmed by the demand meaningful use may bring.”
It appears that, even if doctors are willing to adopt EHRs and go digital, the limiting factor may not only be money, but finding the appropriate technical support personnel to do the job.
If you’re looking for work, health IT is likely to provide reasonable job security for the foreseeable future.
*This blog post was originally published at KevinMD.com*