Why some hospitals are competing with Silicon Valley for IT talent—and losing

Increased demand for hospital IT positions has also brought increased competition

Hospitals have struggled to fill IT positions amid increased competition for skilled staffers with Silicon Valley technology firms, Wall Street, and Fortune 500 companies—leading many hospitals to delay IT-related projects, Melanie Evans writes for Modern Healthcare.

Rise in demand for IT workers

According to Modern Healthcare, the boom in demand for IT executives and managers among hospitals can be attributed to several health IT trends, including billions of dollars in incentives to transition to electronic health records (EHRs) and the risk of penalties for failing to do so.

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  • Consumers' expectations of intuitive interfaces;
  • Heightened risk of data breaches; and
  • The need to use data to cut waste and improve outcomes as part of the health care system's transition to value-base payment models.

Such factors are expected to drive a 15% to 37% increase in health IT jobs by 2020, Modern Healthcare reports.

Increased competition

While demand for IT workers in the health care industry increases, hospitals face a tight supply of potential workers as they compete with larger technology companies.

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According to Modern Healthcare, hospitals—particularly those that are not-for-profit—struggle to match high-salary offers from such companies.

For example, an analysis of annual salary data by CIO found gaps ranging from $3,000 to $31,000 in what the health care industry paid IT managers compared with other industries, such as the manufacturing and legal sectors.

The increased competition and disparities in compensation have meant that some hospital IT positions have gone unfilled. A 2014 Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society survey found that about one third of 200 health care IT executives said they had put a project on hold because of vacant positions (Evans, Modern Healthcare, 6/13 [subscription required]).

The takeaway: Hospital IT positions are increasingly in demand—but some providers have had to delay projects amid struggles to compete with larger technology firms for skilled IT executives and managers.


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