21st Century Healthcare Demands Robust Health IT Workforce

The healthcare industry is facing a problem: shortages of health IT workers. This problem could loom even greater as changes in ICD codes roll-out this year. To combat this problem, the right tools and data can be used to identify some of the key drivers of these shortages and where these problems are likely to play out. We here at HealthLandscape can effectively address some of these issues by digging into data with new interactive and visually effective tools such as HealthLandscape Storymap that explores some of the characteristics of health IT workers and how they differ across the United States.

This first map (below) shows employment rates of Medical Records and Health Information Technicians by state. On average, states with higher employment rates (or lower unemployment rates) will have greater labor shortages. From quick glance at the map, we can see that clusters of high employment of Health IT workers appear in the Northern Rockies (Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota), Northern New England (Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine) and Hawaii. Conversely, employment rates are lowest in the south stretching from South Carolina to Florida. The rate of employment equals the number of employed workers divided by the total labor force (the number of employed workers plus the number of unemployed workers).
Figure. Employment Rates of Medical Records and Health Information Technicians by state
There tends to be an inverse relationship between employment rates and wages. This map shows median wages of full-time (30 hours or more per week) Medical Records and Health Information Technicians. On average, areas with higher employment rates of Medical Records and Health Information Technicians tend to have lower median wages. A way to potentially offset labor shortages for health IT workers is to increase wages where employment rates are high.
 Figure. Median wage of full-time Medical Records and Health Information Technicians by state
This map shows the average age of Medical Records and Health Information Technicians by state. On average, areas with higher average ages tend to have higher employment rates. This is striking because with an aging Health IT workforce in areas with labor shortages, labor shortages in these areas will become an even greater issue in the future.

Figure. Average age of Medical Records and Health Information Technicians by state.
Finally, Health IT workers show some striking characteristics:
  • Nationally, the majority of health IT workers have less than a bachelor’s degree, typically with either a high school diploma or some college education.
  • Nearly 97% of health IT workers are U.S. citizens.
  • Most health IT workers (66.5%) work for a private for-profit company followed by private non-profit companies (20%).
Paul Maliszewski 
GIS Strategist
HealthLandscape

To access the Healthcare Workforce Storymap, see 

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