It is inevitable that the massive undertaking to digitize and electronically exchange the country's health care data will result in a near-term shortage of health IT workers, right? That's the conventional wisdom. But David Blumenthal, the Obama administration's national coordinator for health IT, takes a more sanguine view--sort of.
"Well, last time I looked, there was a pretty high unemployment rate in the United States -- 9.7% was the last figure I saw. ... So, I'm not worried at all that we'll be short of applicants -- qualified applicants -- for an HIT work force," Blumenthal told Kate Ackerman, a senior editor at iHealthBeat.
Blumenthal nonetheless concedes that the "challenge is getting them trained and converted to this new profession in time to meet the meaningful use deadlines."
Let's review: Asked if "the health IT funding included in the federal stimulus package could potentially exacerbate the health IT work force shortage that already exists in the U.S.," Blumenthal said, no, there will be plenty of applicants, but getting them trained in time to do their jobs might be a problem.