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What Workforce is Needed to Implement the Health Information Technology Agenda? Analysis from the HIMSS Analytics™ Database

By William Hersh and Adam Wright

Abstract

One of the essential ingredients for health information technology implementation is a well-trained and competent workforce. However, this workforce has not been quantified or otherwise characterized well. We extracted data from the HIMSS Analytics™ Database and extrapolated our findings to the US as a whole. We found that there are approximately 108,390 IT professionals in health care the US. In addition, the amount of IT staff hired varies by level of EMR adoption, with the rate of IT FTE per bed started at a level of 0.082 FTE per bed at the lowest level of the EMR Adoption Model (Stage 0) and increasing to 0.210 FTE bed at higher levels (Stage 4). We can extrapolate nationally to conclude that to move the entire US to higher levels of adoption (Stage 4) will require an additional 40,784 IT professionals. There are limitations to this analysis, including that the data are limited to IT professionals who are mainly in hospitals and do not include those who, for example, work for vendors or in non-clinical settings. Furthermore, data on biomedical informatics professionals are still virtually non-existent. Our analysis adds to data that show there must be increasing attention paid to the workforce that will develop, implement, and evaluate HIT applications. Further research is essential to better characterize all types of workers needed for adoption of health information technology, including their job roles, required competencies, and optimal education

Topics: Articles
Publisher: American Medical Informatics Association
OAI identifier: oai:pubmedcentral.nih.gov:2656033
Provided by: PubMed Central
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