Health IT has a positive impact on the U.S. economy, according to the new HIMSS Leadership and Workforce Survey unveiled last week at the 2017 Conference.

“Health IT continues to be a bright spot in the U.S. economy,” said Lorren Pettit, HIMSS vice president of health information systems and research. “Health IT workers continue to see strong demand for their skills, as employers across the provider and vendor/consultant spectrum embrace various health IT strategic initiatives. But the specific hurdles faced by some sectors suggest that the health IT field will need to creatively address its expansion outside the hospital walls.”

Health IT’s contribution to the economy comes mostly in the form of jobs. The majority of health IT employers–61 percent of vendors/consultants and 43 percent of providers–have open positions they are looking to fill. And, that number has only increased over the years, as 61 percent of vendors/consultants and 42 percent of providers reported IT staffing increases over the past year.

Also, the majority of providers and vendors/consultants plan to increase their IT budgets this year, furthering job creation and investments into the economy.

Combining two historical annual research efforts–the annual HIMSS Leadership Survey and biennial HIMSS Workforce Study–this new report looks at the health IT priorities of involved parties, their links to strategic initiatives, and their economic measures.

While the report found overall that health IT is growing, there are also challenges to expansion.

Challenges to health IT expansion come from a disconnect between providers and vendors/consultants on these clinical IT priorities. The study found that highest priorities for clinical IT in 2017 are:

  • Privacy, security, and cybersecurity.
  • Quality and patient safety outcomes.
  • Care coordination, culture of care, and population health.
  • Electronic health records (EHRs).

Yet providers and vendors/consultants don’t agree on one priority in particular–EHRs. While vendors seem to be moving on from EHRs and focusing on other technology, providers still find it a high priority to see a return on their investment.

The HIMSS report sees these divergent priorities as a “healthy tension” within the marketplace, but wants to closely monitor these issues, among others, for the next version of the study.

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