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Survey reveals worrisome shortfall in Health Information Tech workers

Posted by Jayme Blaschke
University News Service
April 2, 2012

A new study by the Department of Health Information Management at Texas State University-San Marcos reveals a far greater need for Health Information Technology (HIT) workers in Texas than previously anticipated.

Texas is conservatively expected to need an additional 10,000 HIT workers for the state’s $103.6 billion health care industry by 2013. This gap is much larger than the original estimation that Texas would require an additional 3,500 HIT workers between 2010 and 2015. The results from this survey have shown the original 3,500 figure to be grossly under-estimated. Supply cannot meet current demand.

The study, led by Susan H. Fenton, Ph.D., was conducted as part of a contract with the Texas Workforce Commission, with funding for the project coming from the governor’s office through a Wagner-Peyser grant. The study data was accumulated by conducting HIT Employer Focus Groups across the state and through a statewide HIT Employer survey.

The full text of the report may be found at www.health.txstate.edu/him/TxHIT-workforce/news/contentParagraph/03/document/TexasHITEmployerNeedsAssessment_RELEASED_03302012.pdf

The recently completed Health Information Technology (HIT) Employer Needs Assessment has demonstrated that Texas providers (clinics and hospitals) are conservatively estimated to need 9,500 HIT employees between now and 2013. Non-providers (HER vendors and consultants) reported needing an additional 500 HIT employees by 2013, so it is conservatively estimated that Texas will need an additional 10,000 HIT workers by 2013.

Given the results of this study, it is apparent the current Texas HIT workforce is insufficient to meet the needs. This gap will only grow and the quality of care for Texas citizens will suffer if the stakeholders do not take action. Bridging this gap will require a collaborative effort between employers, educational providers, public organizations and others to develop and implement a plan of action. A statewide HIT education plan is under development for grant year 2. This plan will build on the data collected from the employer needs survey and the higher education institution inventory from grant year 1 and will be used by collaborating partners, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, TWC and other stakeholders.

For more information, contact the grant project manager Elizabeth Joost at (512) 245- 7390 or via email at Elizabeth.joost@txstate.edu.