The December 10th 2014 publication of the article Missed Opportunities? The Labor Market in Health Informatics verifies what many of us in HIM have predicted – a healthcare industry still not fully understanding HIM skill sets. The article identifies a current shortage of health informatics professionals due to several technical changes within healthcare. The article points to the EHR, “big data”, and new regulations as the fundamental changes that have re-shaped the roles involved with the collection, handling, and processing of protected health information (PHI). However, these roles have been at the core of the HIM profession for many years. Although the article acknowledges the functions historically held by HIM professionals, one blaring misinterpretation is made of the newly required hybrid skills of health informatics. In one instance the article identifies a clinical analyst role as a combination of an RN and an IT technician. Although there is most certainly an increase in the complexity of the newly emerging informatics positions, the HIM professional is already strategically aligned with the healthcare knowledge to successfully fill these identified gaps. So how do we do this you ask? Educate, educate, educate! We must continue to join forces to properly articulate the skills and qualifications possessed by the broad range of HIM professionals. More importantly, we must continue to improve our skills to align our qualifications with industry needs. For educational institutions, we must provide opportunities for professionals to build on current credentials to promote job advancement. On the other hand, HIM professionals must be committed to meeting this demand by seeking out educational and career advancement pathways. We must not take a back seat to this job shortage dilemma. Let this be the year to leverage the health informatics opportunities!
May the New Year bring you health, happiness and success!
Associate Professor, HIIM
The College of St. Scholastica
Missed Opportunities? The Labor Market in Health Informatics
December 10, 2014