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Health Care Providers Look to Educational Institutes for Next-Gen IT Workers

March 20, 2012

Update: The Health and Human Services Department has extended the implementation deadline to Oct. 1, 2014.

The health care information technology blitz surrounding the new ICD-10 codes mandated to be in place by Oct. 1, 2014, has raised concerns over the lack of qualified IT workers in the health care industry.

To help solve IT staffing problems, health care organizations are partnering with universities and other learning institutes to train the next generation of information technology employees. University of California, San Diego, Extension has partnered with the region's health care providers to train and grow their own coders.

Yet while organizations need IT workers, they want them to come with experience, says Leslie Bruce, director of health care leadership and community outreach for UC San Diego Extension.

"In particular, providers are looking for people who have experience with electronic medical records," she says. "They especially love people who have worked with the particular brand of electronic medical records they use. It's hard for a new grad to get that experience, so I encourage our students to relocate to get experience in order to be more marketable upon their return. However, it still causes a gap in the local health care IT workforce."

Andrea Siedsma is a freelance writer based in Encinitas, California. To comment email editors@workforce.com.