This week, I was privileged to present alongside Glenn Lanteigne at the eHealth Annual Conference & Tradeshow in British Columbia. Our session was titled, “Researching the Realities Behind the Canadian HI & IT Talent Shortage,” and during it we presented data from the research we did last year on the Canadian healthcare IT market.
What we uncovered in that research is that there are a lot of mismatches between the expectations of the average healthcare IT professional and the current realities of our industry. Let’s look at some of them:
- Salary: The average annual salary increase is about 3%, but 31% of survey participants said they expected a raise in excess of 3% in the next 12 months.
- Skill set: The largest portion of respondents—28%--said they are most familiar with MEDITECH systems, while only 13% said Cerner, 7% reported McKesson, and 4% worked with Epic. However, some of the largest contracts recently up for bid were given to Epic and Cerner—meaning there might not be enough available talent for those implementations.
- Tenure: According to our research, 56% of HIS workers have been in the industry 6+ years. That implies that our talent pipeline is probably not robust enough to support even our current technological investments over the next decade, much less scaling up to newer or more comprehensive systems.
- Demographics: The largest group of participants surveyed—29%--were 51-60 years old. The next largest group was those who were 43-50 years old (22%), then 35-42 years old (21%). Less than 19% of the respondents were younger than 34. These numbers seem to confirm that our talent pipeline is not working the way we need it to for continued success.
- Work preferences: Although most HIS professionals are full-time employees, 81.4% said they would consider consulting in the next 12 months. Respondents also said that remote work is the third most desirable benefit they’d look for in a new role, but only 31% said they receive this benefit where they are currently.
As you can see, there are some significant mismatches between expectation and reality for many HIS professionals. If we do not consider how to best address them, we will not only experience a continued problem with our talent pipeline, but we may lose current talent to other industries that can more readily meet those expectations.
At the end of our presentation, I had the chance to discuss our findings further with people who’d attended. As I always am at eHealth, I was inspired by the intelligence and dedication exhibited by the people with whom I chatted. We have a lot of work to do in improving the talent pipeline for Canadian healthcare IT/IS, but I believe we are creating a path that will get us there.
If you missed the presentation but are interested in seeing the slide deck or just want to chat about new models of staffing for HIS implementations, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org