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Building a future HIT workforce requires alignment of goals

The shortage in the health IT workforce is not going away, as there are more health IT positions than there are professionals applying for the positions, and the types of career opportunities and position titles are evolving quickly.

The way positions are defined and what the market looks like today is very different from just a few years ago.

“In the next five years, we will continue to see growth in the number of health IT jobs, but those jobs will require greater technical and leadership skills, and more jobs will require graduate-level education,” explained Dr. David Marc, associate professor and department chair of the Health Informatics Graduate Program at the College of St. Scholastica.

Marc, who will address the topic this Tuesday at HIMSS22, said academic programs will have to keep pace with the workforce trends by teaching more technical content related to data analytics and informatics while also emphasizing leadership and managerial skills. 

He said employers are seeking qualified candidates that possess competencies in leadership, oral and written communication, managing information in the healthcare system, and technical skills such as data analytics, databases, evaluation of technology, and developing meaningful reports.

“Emerging and aspiring professionals must be aware of employer needs and rise to new expectations,” he added. “The best way for both sides to find success is through open communication and ongoing collaboration. Again and again, the best candidates for positions are strongly aligned with the mission and strategic plan of the organization itself.”

He explained emerging health information technology professionals may be required to enhance their competencies in specific areas to keep up with the demands of the workforce.

There are various ways in which these professionals can achieve this, including attending workshops, seminars, and courses offered by professional organizations or academic institutions.

In addition, some professionals may be required to seek out an advanced degree at an academic institution or earn an industry-recognized credential in order to advance their careers.

“There are tools that can assist health information technology professionals to identify the skills and competencies that are needed for specific professions,” he said.

One tool is HITComp.org, an online database that outlines skills related to specific health information technology roles.

Marc said one of the best pathways for organizations to address future needs is to spend time developing partnerships and engaging in ongoing networking efforts with educational institutions.

“These relationships are mutually beneficial, as educators can learn about growth areas directly from employers and apply that knowledge to continue refining courses and programs,” he said. “The institutions can also provide a pipeline connection to communicate internship opportunities, job openings, and other industry information directly to those emerging professionals”.

Marc will explain more in his HIMSS22 session, “The HIT Workforce: Finding success through connections.” It’s scheduled for Tuesday, March 15, from noon-1 p.m., in room W414D.

Nathan Eddy is a healthcare and technology freelancer based in Berlin.
Email the writer: [email protected]
Twitter: @dropdeaded209

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