medicine-150x150 At one time or another we’ve all heard one or both of the familiar sayings, “Take two and call me in the morning,” or “It’s Time to take your medicine.” Taking our medicine has become a way of life. Healthcare professionals have been prescribing medication to patients for centuries. We count on doctors to take the time to listen to our ailments and prescribe the right remedy to cure our problem.

With the current resource shortage crisis within the healthcare IT market, it’s safe to say that today’s health IT execs are in great need of a serious dose of medicine, to help cure their staffing shortages. As we near the end of 2012, the scarcity of skilled IT clinicians to assist in implementing current Electronic Medical Records (EMR) software is reaching an all-time high.

Here’s a scenario that illustrates what’s happening in this industry: A pharmacy owner needs one person to come in to fill a prescription. It’s likely that a skilled pharmacist would be on hand to fill the prescription quickly and accurately. But imagine having 2,000 sick people walk through the door at the same time to request prescriptions, all of which which need to be filled on the same day. There wouldn’t be enough qualified pharmacists on hand to meet that demand in a reasonable time period.

Such is the challenge facing healthcare IT execs right now in their efforts to meet Meaningful Use deadlines while getting their EMR systems installed. The need for EMR system installation and training was created a few years back when the federal government, through The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, dropped more than $20 billion into an incentive program to get all hospitals on an EMR system. The frenzy that has ensued was created by deadlines that were put in place for meeting meaningful use requirements. Hospitals that meet the requirements, within the ever-changing deadline, will receive a substantial rebate to help offset the new EMR system costs. These rebates have created the largest stampede toward a single deadline in the history of healthcare IT.

The funding is there, the software is there, and great plans are there for execution. The number of skilled professionals to execute the plans is the key missing component.

The staffing sector of healthcare IT is booming right now and with good reason. These firms are the needed medicine that will cure the healthcare IT industry’s ailments. The firms that have successfully offered the cure are growing exponentially.  They are becoming strategic partners to the health systems  companies in helping guide them through this frenzy of resource demand. The successful firms are keeping their consultants engaged with key clients to ensure that deadlines and milestones are being met.

The health systems companies are all running the same race and are trying to get to the same finish line in the same amount of time. It’s what some people may refer to as a perfect storm for EMR consulting companies. It’s likely that this frenzy will continue through 2013 and well into 2014. Healthcare IT execs are looking for good solutions to help them weather this storm. One thing is for sure. If you have a solid stable of EMR clinical consultants, you can definitely keep them busy on projects for the next several years and may very well be, just what the doctor ordered. Here’s to good health.

Alan Kravitz is founder and CEO of MedSys Group Consulting, a national Healthcare Information Technology firm.

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