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HIMSS17: Health IT Staff, Budgets Growing

Posted on March 1, 2017 I Written By

Anne Zieger is a healthcare journalist who has written about the industry for 30 years. Her work has appeared in all of the leading healthcare industry publications, and she's served as editor in chief of several healthcare B2B sites.

A new study announced last week at the HIMSS17 event concludes that demand for health IT staff continues to grow as employers expand their budgets. Not surprisingly, given this growth, the healthcare employers are having trouble recruiting enough IT staffers to meet their growing needs.

Results from the HIMSS Leadership and Workforce Survey reflect responses from 368 U.S. health IT leaders made between November 2016 and early January 2017. Fifty-six of respondents from vendors and consulting firms were in executive management, as compared with 41% of providers.

The survey concluded that the majority of health IT respondents have positions they’d like to fill, including 61% of health IT vendors/consultants and 43% of providers who responded. Only 32% of vendor/consultant organizations and 38% or providers said they were fully staffed, HIMSS said. We’ve seen this challenge from many of the healthcare IT companies which post their jobs on Healthcare IT Central.

Demand for IT recruits grew last year, as well. Researchers found that 61% of vendors/consultants responding and 42% of providers responding saw IT staffing increases over the past year, and that the majority of respondents in both groups expect to increase their IT staffing levels or at least hold them steady next year.

Of course, someone has to pay for these new team members. HIMSS researchers found that IT budgets were continuing to rise over time. Roughly nine out of ten vendors/consultants and 56% of providers said they expected to see increases in their IT budgets this year.

As often happens, however, vendors and consultants and providers seem to have different HIT priorities. While vendors seem to be addressing new technology issues, providers are still focused on how to manage their existing EMR infrastructure investments, HIMSS said.

That being said, the survey found, health IT stakeholders have many overlapping concerns, including privacy and security, population health, care coordination and improving the culture of care.

One of the key insights from this study – that vendors/consultants and providers have different views on the importance of enhancing existing EMRs – is borne out by another study released at the HIMSS event.

The study, which was backed by voice recognition software vendor Nuance Communications, found that providers are broadly interested in implementing new technologies that enhance their EMR, especially computer-assisted physician documentation, mobility and speech recognition tools.

However, when asked to be specific about which tools interested them, they were less enthusiastic, with 44% showing an interest in mobility tools, 38% computer-assisted physician documentation and 25% speech recognition. Documentation tools that enhanced existing functions were especially popular, with 54% of respondents expecting to see them support a reduction in denied claims, 52% improved performance under bundled payments, 38% reduced readmissions and 38% better physician time management which improves patient flow.

This survey also found that the most popular strategy for enhancing physician satisfaction with health IT tools was providing clinician training and education (chosen by 82%). Since their EMR is probably their biggest IT investment, my guess is that the training will focus there. And that suggests that EMRs are still the center of their universe, doesn’t it?

Mobile Health Trends and Technology

Posted on December 19, 2012 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the 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 and John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

While at the mHealth Summit 2012 in DC, I captured a couple videos to try and get an idea of the various mHealth trends that we’ve been seeing in 2012 and what we can expect from mobile health in 2013. Each video is quite short, but full of interesting thoughts on the mHealth industry.

The first two videos are with David Collins from mHIMSS. David has a unique insight since HIMSS has made a big entry into the mHealth space with their acquisition of the mHealth Summit.

In the first video, David Collins talks about the various mobile health trends he’s seen at the mHealth Summit.

In this second video, David Collins discusses some of the key findings from the recently published HIMSS Analytics mHealth survey results.

I also thought it was interesting to hear from Jonathon Dreyer from Nuance Communications to learn what trends he was seeing. Jonathon and Nuance have an interesting perspective since so many mHealth applications could benefit from voice integration. So, they have a unique view at what mHealth applications exist.

Plus, I have to throw in this video that Jonathon made that demonstrates the Nuance voice integration with mobile devices. Nuance actually created this “dummy” EMR system to demonstrate the capabilities of their mobile voice recognition API. I think this was a really smart move since the demo really does illustrate some of the voice capabilities that could be built into EMR software and all sorts of mobile health applications. The video isn’t the perfect demo of the product, but it definitely does give a great window on what could be done with voice recognition when integrated properly.

‘Watson’ Analytics to Being Used to Increase Smartphone, EHR capabilities

Posted on May 31, 2011 I Written By

I for one thought it was really cool that they developed a computer system that could outperform people on Jeopardy.  I am not ready to have my own robot at home, though that would reduce the housework I would have to do, but I love to see people trying to push their limits, and develop things that have never been done before.  That is exactly what the people at IBM are doing.

The full article can be found here, but here are some of the most amazing things that they are developing based on the “Watson” technology:

IBM has doubled the number of healthcare solution architects and technology specialists working at the Solutions Center, tasking them with helping physicians connect smartphones, tablets and other devices to EMRs while also helping healthcare providers build new solutions for remote patient monitoring.

Meanwhile, more than a quarter (27 percent) of specialists and primary care physicians use a tablet PC or similar device nowadays. As clinicians adopt smart devices at five times the rate of the general population,

Using clinical voice recognition from Nuance Communications and medical terminology management from Health Language, IBM is working to improve the mobile EMR experience through voice recognition and technology that provides understanding of medical text, similar to the way Watson analyzed hundreds of millions of pages of text from books, encyclopedias and periodicals to compete on Jeopardy!

With the rapid adoption of electronic medical records and other health IT applications, the amount of data associated with health care providers in North America is expected to reach close to 14,000 petabytes by 2015.

Now for those of you, like me, that don’t know how much a petabyte is, it is equivalent to 1024 terabytes which is equal to about 13.3 years of HDTV content.  It is incredible how fast this industry is growing.  Information has always been the source of power in healthcare, and now we are in a position to use more, and more accurate, information than ever before.  What is truly incredible is that most of it can be accessed in the palm of your hand.