Demand for Health IT Pros Intensifies With Stimulus Passage

According to Gartner analyst Barbara Gomolski, the recently signed U.S. stimulus package isn’t going to do much for corporate technology spending — with the exception of one sector: health care.

“[Since the stimulus package passed], I’ve talked to probably 20 CIOs, and none of them have mentioned the stimulus package,” said Gomolski, managing vice president at Gartner. “I think [it has] been obscured by the overall cash crunch, which a lot of companies are under.”

The exception is the $19 billion the government has committed to spending on technology to modernize health care. While the health care industry has steadily made investments in IT, many companies are hesitant to fully digitize because of the enormous monetary costs or because older health practitioners are reluctant to include technology in their work with patients, Gomolski said.

To help overcome these barriers, the stimulus package has set aside $17 billion to provide incentives for health care providers to adopt technology. This extra push may help them move past cost-related barriers, but the next step will be to get health care professionals to use the technology, Gomolski said.

“A challenge for a lot of the health care CIOs I’ve talked to [is]: ‘How do you get people to change the way they work?’ They’re used to manual charting and now you’re asking them to chart into a laptop. How do you get them to do that? There’s a lot of training, a lot of change management that goes with that.”

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Meagan Polakowski

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