At a time when the national unemployment rate hovers above 10 percent, the health IT sector has more shovel-ready jobs in the pipe than there are qualified high-tech shovelers.
Eager to close a projected shortfall of 51,000 health IT workers over the next five years, the federal government has created a $120 million cash grant program "aimed at getting colleges to train more than 11,000 new health IT professionals per year," reports Burton Bollag in the current issue of Government Health IT magazine. The training programs will get underway this fall.
Failure to expand the health IT workforce could impede government plans to quickly bring the nation's healthcare system into the information age.
"My question is, is it already too late" to start training the needed health IT specialists, said Dr. Blackford Middleton, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and director of clinical informatics at Partners Healthcare System in Massachusetts.