HIMSS Survey: HIT Hiring Growth Continues

A new HIMSS Workforce Survey released in July found that HIT hiring continues to grow, with 80% of provider organizations responding that they have hired at least one FTE IT staff member last year, and 73% indicating that they plan to do so within the next year. The survey, which was conducted online during February and March, generated 224 responses from health IT professionals, 75% of whom were employed by a provider organization. The study, which also included responses from HIT professionals at vendor organizations, was sponsored by Medix IT.

The free report found that of those provider organizations that hired IT staff last year, 10% actually hired more than 20 FTEs. The areas in which they were hired varied, with clinical application support and help desk leading by a large margin. Other areas that saw an uptick in hiring last year include IT management, financial application support, system design & implementation, IT security, and project management.

Provider organizations were so in need of IT staff last year that 76% of them reported outsourcing some projects, according to the survey. Some of these outsourced initiatives included project management (28%), clinical application support (27%), system design and implementation (24%), and IT security (21%).

Additionally, about half of responding provider organizations indicated that they had to or were considering putting a project on hold because they could not dedicate enough staff to it. These organizations said IT initiatives such as Meaningful Use and ICD-10 conversion took precedence for their HIT staff, so other initiatives, such as new system installations, EHR integrations or system/hardware upgrades and enhancements, were sometimes delayed by nearly three months.

For next year, 59% of responding provider organizations indicated that they plan to hire between one and five full-time IT staff members. Again, clinical application support and help desk were the top types of positions they are looking to fill, according to the survey.

As they go about adding to their IT staff, many provider organizations indicated they want to hire seasoned IT professionals who hold various certifications, such as security or network/architecture support. Further, 78% of provider organizations use tools such as job boards to help recruit staff, while 70% use employee referrals. To help retain existing staff, 60% of provider organizations indicated that they offer professional development opportunities, while 48% offer paid tuition.