Bridging The Healthcare IT Skills Gap
Healthcare companies are scrambling to cope with a shortage of health IT professionals so that they can meet government requirements, consumer expectations and their own strategic goals, according to a new PwC report. Some organizations are even poaching IT talent from non-healthcare fields, the researchers found.
The report suggests that healthcare providers, insurance companies and drug and device firms are also competing with one another for talented IT professionals.
Across all these health industry categories, 62 percent of CEOs surveyed were concerned about the availability of IT skills, and 51 percent said their organizations were threatened by the speed of technological change. Seventy-seven percent said they anticipated changes in their talent strategies.
PwC cited a recent survey by the College of Health Information Management Executives (CHIME) showing that 67 percent of healthcare providers are experiencing IT staff shortages. The shortage in skills is having an impact on the way CIOs run their departments – with new technology taking center stage all the time, they are having to employ staff who have a very in-depth knowledge.
CIOs have cited the need for specialists capable of implementing and supporting clinical applications, such as electronic health records (EHRs) and computerized provider order entry (CPOE) as the most pressing issue. The report also highlighted a need for employees with expertise in clinical informatics, followed by systems and data integration, and data statistics and analytics.
How transferrable are IT skills among the health sectors? “Configuring an EHR is a specialized skill for a hospital,” Edwards noted. “But when you're interested in sharing the data, or using it for secondary purposes, there's a lot of interest across all health sectors in how do we tap into this new source of data as an opportunity for our business. And that's causing people who have that analytics/data integration skill to be desired outside of provider settings.”
Health industry firms are also hiring IT analysts and statisticians from other fields, but Edwards noted that these people have a steep learning curve. Statisticians, he said, take three to six months to come up to speed on healthcare data, and they need extensive mentoring and support during that period.
The PwC survey confirmed CHIME's finding that many healthcare CIOs were hiring consultants to help fill the gaps in their IT ranks. Until recently, Edwards pointed out, the trend was for healthcare providers to outsource some or all of their IT work to consulting firms and staffing contractors; now many are bringing these functions in-house.
Another way to expand the talent pool, Edwards pointed out, is to retrain existing staff members who don't have IT backgrounds, “but are in strong operational roles and are willing to learn how to support some of these IT solutions.”
LG launches purpose-built smart TV for hospitals
LG Business Solutions USA has announced two new hospital TVs that are designed to improve patient management and engagement while adhering to critical safety standards for healthcare facilities.
One of the TVs is LG's biggest ever screen for a hospital - the 65-inch 4K Ultra HD model. It has LG’s NanoCell display technology, enabling it to display vivid pictures, and provides built-in support for hospital pillow speakers and embedded broadband LAN capability, so hospitals can deliver video on demand without requiring a separate set-top box in the patient room.
It also includes configuration software with an intuitive interface for setting up the TV to work in a hospital setting, plus a software-enabled access point feature that turns the TV into a Wi-Fi hotspot.
The second TV screen is the 15-inch Personal Healthcare Smart Touch TV with a multi-touch screen. It is designed to be installed on an adjustable arm for use in shared spaces or smaller patient rooms and will support LG's new, modular LG AM-AC21EA video camera, and HD video communication.
Both include support for video conferencing, and are UL Certified for use in healthcare facilities, a global safety standard. They also feature LG’s integrated Pro:Centric hospital management solutions, allowing hospitals and LG’s patient engagement development partners to personalise a patient's room, providing entertainment, hospital information, services, patient education, and more.
Additionally its communication platform makes it possible to conduct video calls between patients and clinicians or family.
“Our newest LG hospital TVs reflect ongoing feedback from the industry and include capabilities integrated to meet the unique needs of a critical market” said Tom Mottlau, Director of Healthcare Solutions, LG Electronics USA.
“Our healthcare patient engagement development partners requested an upgradable version of webOS for our Pro:Centric smart TV platform so they could more easily introduce new features for their hospital customers. For the latest versions of webOS, LG worked closely with our partners to make their request a reality and to deliver a hospital TV platform that can evolve over time.”