The Stoltenberg Blog

Healthcare technology insights for competitive value-based care strategy

Breaking Down How the HIMSS Workforce Survey Reflects the HIT Industry: Part II

Continuing feedback regarding the HIMSS Analytics Workforce Survey, let's discuss hiring or outsourcing. This is is always a topic that gets a lot of discussion and often has people taking sides. Yet, in today's ever-changing environment, we may need to look at outsourcing in different ways than in the past. It is not always easier or less expensive to keep all IT internal. We must look at each situation and apply a set of principles to evaluate staffing and outsourcing. Each organization should develop a key set of principles to use, but they should include such items as the type of skills, the length of the project or initiative, future projects, and the ability of staff to adapt or learn new skills. Another critical factor is the make up of the organization. Are they moving as many or to a more centralized system that uses many of the same skills throughout? This may be a situation in which outsourcing is used to support legacy systems that are being replaced by integrated solutions.

Making the Right IT Hire

How do you make the right IT hire? This is difficult question with today's ever-changing market and a workforce that is increasingly more technical. In a market that has a shortage of qualified people, how do we hire the right people to keep our organizations moving forward and projects on time? Identify key skills and traits that fit with your organization and then look at creative ways to find qualified people. Look to colleges and university for more technical roles, and use internships to evaluate potential staff before they hit the job market. For roles that are more application-specific, look to subject areas to supplement. Make sure these individuals fit well with the dynamic of the current team, and consider supplementing these areas with contract employees to fill gaps and help with training and development of subject area staff.

The next wave of healthcare IT professionals are younger with less experience, but with a high desire to learn, they and very motived by salary and benefit plans. They are much less apt to feel attached to an organization changing firms / organizations frequently. Many are looking for their next opportunity 18 months after starting a new position. This presents a completely different set of issues for all sectors of HIT. Staff/employees that have a strong affiliation to an organization are becoming harder to find and a challenge to keep. This is not all bad though. The right mix of the new generation and older can be very productive and create an environment where learning and sharing of ideas (both new and old) make for very productive projects and teams. The key is creating cohesive teams. A good "fit" is as important as the skill mix of the team.

As the market place continues to grow and mature, organizations that are not afraid to change and adapt and will survive and excel in this environment. Many HIT organizations are slow to change or adopt new technology, tending to be less on the cutting edge than other industries. Yet, with the current challenges facing the healthcare IT workforce, organizations that are lean and adapt quickly will reap the benefits of this ever-changing marketplace.

Part I of the series.