In Demand, On Demand: Healthcare IT Staffing

Looking at the landscape around staffing right now in healthcare IT, what are the biggest needs among senior-level positions

in patient care organizations? Senior-level talent must possess the ability to engage a changing staffing environment that includes remote talent, highly special- ized expertise, and a growing contingent workforce. The days of hiring a team and maintaining them in a traditional work envi- ronment is giving way to a workforce-centric model in which talent and expertise is in high demand and making demands. From a topical perspective, the industry is calling for leadership in digital transfor- mation, cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, and patient engagement among other topics. Whether these are new roles or extensions of existing senior level staff is the question organizations will evaluate. Our experience tells us these areas, especially digital trans- formation, and cyber security, are so complex and fast moving that it is challenging for local internal staff to keep up in the same way organizations that specialize in these topics can.

Where are the biggest gaps, relative to the skills and experiences needed and how has the Covid-19 pandemic

impacted healthcare IT staffing? Demand for health IT talent is at an all-time high. Traditional healthcare staffing agencies are seizing the moment in record numbers, retooling their traditional healthcare offer- ings to engage in IT recruiting and place- ment. Like other industries, healthcare has and continues to be devastated by staffing shortages, driven in large part by the Covid- 19 pandemic. Healthcare IT is not immune to this phenomenon with critical shortages presenting in virtually every discipline to include end user support, application ana- lysts, infrastructure, and cyber security. Out of adversity comes opportunity and that is currently manifesting in the healthcare IT staffing space with many new agencies entering this space. While this is a time of great opportunity, it is also a time for health

care organizations to critically assess the abil- ity of these previously non-IT healthcare staffing and consulting firms to identify skills-rich technical and application talent. As I watch staffing firms and associations race to claim a spot in health IT staffing space, I am reminded of a saying that goes like this – “to a hammer, everything is a nail”. With liter- ally hundreds of technologies and healthcare specific applications requiring deep exper- tise – every agency placement can’t be just another resource.

What is the situation around clinical informaticists,

especially at the senior levels? Clinical Informaticists continue to be in demand. However, I have witnessed a changing focus for this role with regula- tory compliance rising to the top of their agenda. Healthcare IT encompasses people, processes, and technology, while the com- plexity surrounding healthcare regulatory compliance and constantly shifting agendas creates need for deep understanding of sys- tems and workflows. Strong communication skills coupled with even stronger analyti- cal skills ensures physicians, nurses, and the array of clinical care providers can success- fully interact with IT systems to the benefit of their organizations and most importantly the patient.

What are some of the geographic

differences that you see? The most significant element of staffing that I see related to geographic differences is that geography no longer matters! It is far less important today than ever in our history. Technology makes it possible for many jobs to be performed from literally anywhere in the world. The Covid-19 pandemic provided the proof statement that remote work is and can be productive and effective.

What does the period of the

next 24 months look like? Just as we could not have predicted the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on healthcare and healthcare workers, it is equally challenging to consider the changing face of health IT staffing in the next 24 months. However,


Robecca Quammen DBA MBA FACHE CEO HealthITq & Quammen Group

there is consensus that a highly skilled and in demand workforce has been liberated from traditional employment norms.

What advice would you like to share with CIOs and other senior-

level healthcare IT leaders? Focus on talent! It is really the only variable that matters. Deep, rich, experiential talent with broad knowledge of targeted healthcare IT topics is essential. Arguments surrounding the merits of insourcing versus outsourcing are losing ground. Covid-19 has decisively changed the trajectory of employment and staffing in every industry, with healthcare topping the list. Now more than ever, the workforce wants to be valued, they want work that is enriching and offered uncon- ditionally on their terms.

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