HealthcareITHealthcare hiring is on the rise in all industry areas, but the IT sector faces several specific challenges. According to the Annual 2013 HIMSS Leadership Survey, more than three quarters of major healthcare providers outsource part or all of their IT services. This can lead to worker shortages that impact quality of care and profitability. As a result of the potential problems derived from understaffed IT departments, more than half of healthcare provider organizations addressed the human resources issue by hiring between 1 and 5 additional IT staff over the past year.

Hiring Trends Result in Staffing Holes

Post-recession, businesses in numerous industries have reported layoffs and high rates of unemployment. But Healthcare IT has been a virtually recession-proof industry. The future of this industry will likely continue to hold steady job growth for both full-time and contract hiring, making it a great option for aspiring IT professionals. But how does it impact the hiring strategies long-term care professionals utilize to hire these sought-after professionals?

Unfortunately, pinpointing qualified IT staff members has become a constant problem for recruiters in long-term care organizations and throughout the healthcare industry. According to the HIMSS study, in 2013 approximately 31% of organizations were forced to place existing, and sometimes crucial, IT initiatives on hold largely due to the lack of staff. Long-term care organizations want and need new IT hires, but they may find it difficult to locate and budget for the best IT talent.

More IT Tasks means More IT Jobs

Why is this job growth holding steady? Part of the demand for IT workers in healthcare comes from the increasing complexity of staffing needs. IT departments no longer function solely as Help Desks. Instead, the IT department of today plays a crucial role in customer outreach, marketing efforts, billing and coding, and financial planning. Here’s a look at the areas where healthcare organizations are looking for employees:

  • Health informatics jobs are expected to increase by 37%
  • Cloud technology jobs are expected to increase by 10%
  • Big data jobs are expected to increase by 7%
  • Financial regulation jobs are expected to increase by 6%

These statistics come from Careerbuilder and’s mid-year job forecast. Since these are so competitive for long-term care organizations, the cost of those hires may increase dramatically. More employers fighting over the same candidates equals higher compensation packages, which might be difficult for long-term care organizations to match, and this results in productivity losses. Faced with competitive hiring issues and a lack of candidates, many long-term care providers can expect to turn to outsourcing to meet a portion of their IT staffing needs. Currently, 76% of healthcare organizations already outsource one or more areas of service, and 93% plan to outsource IT hiring over the course of the next year. However, even if in-house recruiters are not directly sourcing IT candidates, they can still play an important role in the new hire process, especially since it takes more time to make a hiring decision and onboard new talent in this type of market.

According to a recent article in McKnight’s Long-Term Care News by Frederick Morgeson, Ph.D., professor at Michigan State University and scientific advisor for HealthcareSource, long-term care organizations should consider ensuring their recruitment strategies align with their retention strategies. Therefore, once these crucial IT workers are hired, it’s important to ensure retention within the first 90-days. Making sure they have a great onboarding experience is a good start. The onboarding process shouldn’t be a 24-hour paperwork marathon. With the help of an applicant tracking system, a majority of the technicalities of employee onboarding can be handled well before their first day since documents can be sent electronically. In addition, IT workers will likely be seeking a tech-savvy organization to work for, which can be demonstrated by the new hire process. It may continue to be challenging to source these IT professionals, but long-term care organizations can ensure they have a positive onboarding experience. As the growth in IT hiring continues, retention for these workers will continue to be imperative.

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About The Editorial Staff

The Editorial Staff is a team of writers with a passion for helping healthcare organizations manage their biggest and most important investment: their employees.