HHS chief aims for IT job credentials in a year

A workforce shortage is hampering the widespread adoption of digital health records, largely because job classifications for health information technology personnel have not been clearly defined, an advisory group said during a Tuesday meeting.

That sparked Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt to ask the American Health Information Community to identify job classifications and the credentials required for those classifications within "the next 364 days."

Jonathan Perlin, a co-chairman of a working group on e-health records, said HHS should work with the Labor Department to develop job classifications for health IT professionals. The group is an arm of AHIC, the federal advisory group charged with making recommendations to the HHS secretary on accelerating the development and adoption of health IT.

Perlin, the chief medical officer and a senior vice president at HCA, a healthcare company, urged HHS to support funding for university research related to health information management. Increasing the appeal of academic careers in health IT-related disciplines would enlarge the pool of faculty capable of educating the workforce, he said.

Perlin said the number of jobs that are open is "staggering." He suggested that HHS establish a group to better measure specific workforce deficits.

Leavitt said the workforce shortfall was a problem six or seven years ago and acknowledged that it remains an issue.

On Monday, he separately announced that the nonprofit LMI Consulting and the Brookings Institution have been awarded a grant to privatize AHIC. This summer, HHS proposed replacing the advisory body with an independent public-private partnership. Under AHIC's 2005 charter, HHS must establish a successor organization.

The LMI-Brookings duo is slated to fully establish the spin-off, dubbed, AHIC 2.0, by December.

In August, several labor and consumer advocacy groups and the seniors' group AARP expressed concerns that the new entity would lack accountability and transparency. They argued that HHS must continue playing an active oversight role to ensure business interests do not interfere with national interests during the standards-making process.

National Health IT Coordinator Robert Kolodner said in a statement, "The successful establishment of AHIC 2.0 in the private sector will ensure long-term success in the development of a nationwide health information network."

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download
  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.