IT departments may be stuck without enough help to go hi-tech

This from the July 2009 issue of Hospitals & Health Networks: “Experts worry that hospitals may not have the resources to keep up. As if it already weren’t tough enough to find and retain quality health information technology professionals, the recent passage of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act as part of the Obama administration’s broader economic stimulus package may only make the task more difficult. “We had a shortage of talent before this stimulus was initiated,” says Timothy R. Zoph, chief information officer at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago. “This will exacerbate the problem.”” – I’ve mentioned before that I think healthcare IT is headed for a rude awakening with all the new technology beginning to trickle our way. Demands placed on IT departments to develop solutions for BCMA, CPOE, cloud computing, increased security and a host of other computer based advancements will eventually lead to system failure secondary to limited resources. When you bring a new system online, the work isn’t necessarily finished. Continued development and maintenance are ongoing processes that require dedicated resources. If IT departments aren’t adding additional resources to manage these new systems then you have to ask yourself if everyone was sitting around watching videos on YouTube before the new systems came on line, or are resources going to be stretched paper thin after implementation. If the answer is the latter, then you’re in trouble. With the steep learning curve in healthcare informatics, in part due to legacy systems, I think it’s time to take a good, hard look at outsourcing. Just my two cents.

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