Healthcare industry leaders discuss the shortage of staff with information technology expertise, the impact on hospitals and health systems, and what can be done to address the situation.
This article originally appeared in the June issue of HealthLeaders magazine.
The lack of IT staff with expertise represents the top challenge leaders face regarding their IT group.
Where in the IT group are you finding these shortages, what is the effect on the organization, and what can leaders do to address that?
Executive vice president and COO
H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute
On finding the right people: Even with a higher-than-expected unemployment rate, the issue of trying to find really qualified people who understand the program and who are willing to stick with it through all the trials and tribulations and difficulties in implementations is challenging.
A staffing problem across many industries: We thought we might have been unique in healthcare, but we spoke with one of our board members who runs a major corporation and she was saying the same thing about her business. We all agree that information technology and the usage of it—being able to mine the data—is critically important to our businesses. But we really need to have our schools and our infrastructure—be it government or whatever else—step up and help accelerate the idea of recruiting people into this field.
On building partnerships: We are looking at partnerships with some of the major schools, much as we did in nursing and other areas where we had critical shortages, about helping us to recruit and continually train new qualified people.
On the effect of IT staff shortages: To be perfectly frank, I wish we were able to turn out more people who are qualified and can think outside the box and be a little more innovative. We have a great group here. We just don't have enough of them. We obviously get the job done but it seems to take us longer or we can't do some of the innovative things we'd like to do.
John Commins is a senior editor at HealthLeaders.