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Shortage of health care IT staff will see outsourcing grow, states report

August 9, 2013 | Posted at 1:09 pm

Information technology professionals continue to be in demand in the health care sector, after a recently released report revealed that the global market for IT outsourcing is expected to be worth over $50 billion by 2018.

According to research conducted by, health care providers are increasingly likely to look for third-party providers for IT services, with the the authors of the report citing a number of reasons for predicted growth. These include a lack of in-house expertise, a need to integrate existing systems with newer software and the introduction of Electronic Health Records.

In terms of market share, the United States and Canada are responsible for 72 percent of all health care IT outsourcing, with the general consensus being that the practice is normally implemented to reduce operational costs and increase access to IT staff.

The report comes on the heels of a recent workforce survey in July that concentrated on the IT problems being faced by the health care industry. According to Healthcare Technology Online, the survey of 224 healthcare IT providers and vendors by HIMSS Analytics showed that 86 percent of respondents had hired at least one IT staff member in the last year, while 75 percent of organizations were planning to hire staff in the next 12 months.

However, the survey also showed that outsourcing would remain strong, with 76 percent of respondents reporting that they would be doing so rather than hiring employees. This IT trend shows no sign of decreasing in 2014, with 93 percent of providers revealing that they already have plans to outsource their IT requirements next year.

The overriding concern seems to be the lack of talent available in the job market. According to HIMSS, 43 percent of providers and 56 percent of vendors stating that finding qualified IT staff was the biggest problem, while 31 percent of healthcare providers reported that an IT-based initiative had been put on hold due to staff shortages.