The ARRA EMR Staffing Challenge

Posted on October 26, 2009 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

I came across a really interesting take on the challenge of ensuring that there are enough qualified EMR staff. Here’s a portion of the blog post:

What happens to you when you call asking to buy an EMR, and have it implemented by 2010?

-Will you be told that the vendor doesn’t have the resources, and that you’ll have to wait?
-Or will the vendor sell the EMR, and worry about the implementation later?
-And if the latter is the case, what will that vendor do to get you implemented?

Most vendors know they will have to hire new employees to fill the need for this bolus of implementations that they know is coming–and they also know that these employees will be new, green and inexperienced. Perhaps yours might even be their first implementation. Yes, they may have “supervision” from a more experienced implementer in the organization, but the bottom line is that they will de facto have less experience than they might otherwise.

Not a good thing…but it gets worse.

Now ask yourself where will these new EMR implementation experts come from?

Some will be young staff, perhaps fresh from college looking for their first job. Others may be transitioning from other industries (perhaps even with some implementation experience outside of healthcare). Others might be clinicians looking to transition to IT.

But all of these folks lack the healthcare IT expertise that will be critical to a successful EMR implementation.

It would be ideal if a vendor could hire experienced EMR implementation folks, but where would such individuals be found?

Hospitals, physician groups & practices – why, perhaps even your staff!

You should go and read the rest of the blog post for an interesting discussion of how you can retain your qualified EMR and HIT staff despite the high demand for such qualified people.

If you find this subject interesting, you should also go and check out this take on the regional extension centers timeframes to support EMR implementations and also this really interesting take on the EMR training backlog.