Shout out to the EHR Vendors: Your Help is Needed
The CMS EHR Incentive Program is a rare opportunity to witness government funding provide a massive stimulation to a particular industry. HIT vendors are finding themselves in the enviable position of selling products and services to customers who don’t have to pay for them. For years we have heard that the cost of EHRs was perhaps the greatest impediment to HIT adoption. Suddenly, in the blink of an eye and the passing of legislation that objection has been removed. Maybe it is time for those EHR vendors who are prospering from this to think about giving something back.
HHS anticipates a new workforce of over 50,000 people will be needed to support the adoption and meaningful use of EHRs. To meet this need a new entity, the Community College Consortia, was created and funded with Federal dollars. The CCC is made up of 82 community colleges that are being tasked to provide training to help individuals (“mid-career, highly-qualified professionals, Redesign Specialists with previous experience in healthcare & IT”) get ready to enter the workforce to “facilitate the adoptions and implementation of EHRs”. Well, the institutions are doing a great job of recruiting and training individuals in 6 roles that include:
- Practice Workflow & Information Management
- Clinician/Practitioner Consultants
- Implementation Support Specialists
- Implementation Managers
- Technical/Software Support
Over 7,000 students had enrolled by April 2011 and over 1200 had completed the program. The goal is to have over 10,000 graduates by 2012 and it looks like this will be accomplished. There is just one major problem. I have been hearing from various sources this initiative is having trouble placing these people into positions with vendors. So we have all these motivated people with training who are having trouble finding jobs. We know the jobs are there as every major vendor is seriously backlogged with implementation projects. I’m not suggesting that vendors hire these graduates and turn them loose themselves as Project Managers. What I am asking vendors to do is step up and start bringing these people on board. Call them what your will: interns, junior trainers, etc. It doesn’t matter. Go to the HHS website that lists the participating community colleges and pick some schools where you have implementation activity. Call the phones. This is the right thing to do.
Jim Tate is a nationally recognized expert on the CMS EHR Incentive Program, certified technology and meaningful use and author of The Incentive Roadmap® The Meaningful Use of Certified Technology: Stage 1.