Hospitals compete for IT talent with funding at stake


Expect benefits from the community college programs between 2013 and 2020, said Lee, after more people have received health IT training and hospital work experience and know how to use EHRs for patient data management.

"You don't walk out of school able to be the world's best analysts," he said. "We'll see the benefit in the coming years as they get on the job and interact with real problemsin realhospitals and clinics."

The 7,000 graduates produced by the community college training program will not meet the 50,000 heath IT employees the industry needs by their deadlines, Halamka said. This shortage is "a short-term problem" with "the peak of demand coming right now" since the stimulus ends in a few months, he said.

Despite the hiring challenges, doctors praised the stimulus package for making technology more affordable to health care providers and promoting the .

"What the stimulus has done is take those folks who are reluctant to go to the EHR, go through the process and really motivated them because not only is there a carrot now, but there is a stick and in 2016 you're going to start seeing a reduction in reimbursement if you don't have any EHR," Halamka said. "The stimulus is good because it made everyone move faster and also gives criteria of what makes an EHR that is good enough."