In The News

Just What the Doctors Ordered

You may have noticed a change from business as usual in your doctor’s office – a change for the better, that is.

Instead of clipboards and bursting paper files, healthcare providers are increasingly turning to electronic record management systems to aid in the accuracy and efficiency of patient interactions. The numbers speak for themselves: As of April 2015, 54 percent of doctor’s offices and 95 percent of critical access hospitals had adopted electronic health record (EHR) systems.

This change equates to more than just a pleasant experience at the doctor’s office – its impact on the workforce is already being felt. The Bureau of Labor Statistics ranks health IT among the 20 fastest-growing industries, with somewhere between 12,000 and 50,000 new, high-paying jobs expected to emerge by 2017.

However, a shortage in the pool of workers with the IT and data management skills necessary is leaving many of these jobs unfilled. A 2014 survey by the Healthcare Information Management Systems Society found that 85 percent of health IT employers faced difficulty in filling available positions. The most commonly cited reason? A lack of qualified talent.

A 2014 survey found that the skills gap was the most frequently cited reason that health IT employers faced difficulty in filling available positions. Source: Healthcare Information Management Systems Society, “2014 HIMSS Workforce Survey,”

A 2014 survey found that the skills gap was the most frequently cited reason that health IT employers faced difficulty in filling available positions. Source: Healthcare Information Management Systems Society, “2014 HIMSS Workforce Survey,”

The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) is working to correct this all-too-familiar trend. With the help of a new grant from the expansion of the American Apprenticeship Program, training of more than 34,000 new apprentices in high-growth and high-tech industries will be supported across the United States – including 1,200 of AHIMA’s prospective health IT workers.

As detailed in a White House fact sheet, “[T]he AHIMA Foundation is using a competency-based, on-the-job apprenticeship training program in healthcare informatics to help recent college graduates and career changers break into well-paying healthcare data management careers.”

The $4.9 million dollar grant will be used to fund AHIMA’s Managing the Talent Pipeline in Health Information apprenticeship program and other ongoing workforce development efforts. These include on-the-job learning experiences, career prep webinars, workbooks and an online portal for health IT opportunities.