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Workforce shortage also affects health-care IT

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Monday, October 01, 2007

I ENJOYED THE ARTICLE on health-care workforce and its replenishment [THE WORKFORCE WORRY, JUNE], but would like to bring to your attention another area that has not received as much attention as the shortage of doctors and others, but is still very important. It’s the pending shortage of health-care information technology (IT) workers.

Health-care IT is of great interest to many business leaders and politicians, as it has the potential to improve safety and quality while reducing costs. Yet there are many barriers to health-care IT, mostly having to do with cost and misaligned financial incentives. Another barrier is the lack of a workforce that has the skills to implement IT in the complex health-care setting.

Many of your readers may not know that Oregon is a leader in this area. We have a number of health systems whose use of IT is ahead of the national curve, as well as a number of companies, big and small, who are leaders in various segments of the marketplace. But another asset is OHSU’s Department of Medical Informatics & Clinical Epidemiology. We are a leading department in the field nationally and have the largest educational program in the field in the country. We offer a variety of graduate programs both on our campus as well as online.

Our department is eager to collaborate with Oregon companies and health-care organizations.

William Hersh
Chair, OHSU Dept. of Medical
Informatics & Clinical Epidemiology, Portland

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