New Report Looks at Health Information Exchange Staffing Needs

Health Information Exchange Organizational Staffing

Little Attention to Date on Meeting Hiring Demands of Health Information Exchanges

The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) and HIMSS have created a collaborative workgroup for the purpose of analyzing employment opportunities and skills requirements in the health information exchange environment. The two organizations have released a report identifying current environment staffing models, emerging staffing models and required skill sets to support health information exchange organizations. Trends in Health Information Exchange Organizational (HIO) Staffing is a report based on survey responses from representatives of 35 HIOs.

From the Executive Summary:

Many initiatives are underway at the federal, state and local levels, and in the private sector, to foster and enable interoperable electronic health information exchange, most of which is facilitated through Health Information Exchange Organizations or Networks (HIO). Significant focus is placed on the governance, business models, policies, standards and technical infrastructure required for long-term sustainability; however, little attention is focused on the staffing of HIOs. This is an unfortunate oversight—even the most well-designed HIO cannot operate in a silo. It is therefore essential to consider current and future staffing needs of these organizations.

Key Findings on Current Health Information Exchange Staffing

In describing current staffing needs:

  • 45% of the surveyed HIO representatives cited job positions in technology;
  • 20% cited positions in operations;
  • 14% cited positions in coordination activities; and
  • 21% cited other positions.

Technology-related job positions in the highest demand were those related to:

  • Data integration and help desk support;
  • Data integrity, connectivity, software support and business intelligence;
  • Data quality, compliance and technical project management;
  • Security, specifications, design, coding and testing; and
  • Payment processing and other positions (Healthcare IT News, 2/12).

In a joint statement from the two organizations AHIMA CEO Lynne Thomas Gordon said the study “outlines recommendations for moving this industry forward.” The results from the report provide:

  • Detailed information on current and planned staffing for HIE organizations of all sizes, including the use of full-time, part-time, job-sharing, outsourcing and on-site contractor positions
  • Trends in staffing needs across the life span of an HIE organization
  • Use of federal programs, such as the HITECH Workforce Development Consortiums
  • Common staffing challenges encountered by HIE organizations
  • Recommendations for both HIE organizations and health IT professionals
  • Suggestions for future research

Read the full report here.