Characteristics of the healthcare information technology workforce in the HITECH era: Underestimated in size, still growing, and adapting to advanced uses

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3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: There is little readily available data about the size and characteristics of the healthcare information technology workforce. We sought to update a previous description of the size, growth, and characteristics of this workforce based on the Healthcare Information Management Systems Society (HIMSS) AnalyticsVR Database, a resource that includes hospital size, number of beds, amount of staffing, and an eight-stage model of electronic health record adoption (Electronic Medical Record Adoption Model, EMRAMSM). Materials and Methods: We updated an analysis done using a 2007 snapshot of the HIMSS Analytics Database with a comparable snapshot from 2014 in order to estimate the size of the current workforce and project future needs. For the 2014 data, we applied the same weighted average analysis used in 2007 to obtain a ratio of information technology (IT) hospital full-time equivalent (FTE) to staffed beds, extrapolate the results to all US hospitals, and project the workforce needs as hospitals achieve higher EMRAM stages. Results: Our estimated size of the healthcare information technology workforce in the US in 2014 was 161 160, which was 8.0% larger than the estimate based on the 2007 data. Based on the new data, we project a potential need for an additional 19 852 and 153 114 FTE, if all hospitals were to achieve EMRAM Stages 6 and 7, respectively. The distribution of FTE across job function category varies by EMRAM stage. Discussion and Conclusions: Although these data are limited, especially for EMRAM Stage 7, there is likely need for substantial workforce growth as hospitals increase their adoption of advanced healthcare information technology. Further research with data better focused on workforce characteristics will provide a better picture of staffing requirements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)188-194
Number of pages7
JournalJAMIA Open
Volume1
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2018

Keywords

  • Electronic health records
  • Health information technology
  • Health information technology for economic and clinical health act
  • Workforce

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics

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