HIT Professionals Should Party Like Its 1999!

In Executive Leadership, Healthcare, Human Capital Trends, Operational Excellence, Published articles or white papers, Revenue Cycle Management on March 28, 2012 at 2:41 pm

The pop singer Prince said it best with his hit song “1999” – “So tonight I’m gonna party like it’s 1999” – HIT/HIM professionals should use this as an anthem for the current state of Healthcare Reform, EMR, and ICD-10 implementations occurring nationwide. Today’s healthcare environment for HIT professionals is similar to that of Y2K; with the major difference being, there is no set completion date that the new Millennium provided! As the tune goes – there seems to be no “Oops – out of time”! This is even truer today, with the confusion surrounding the recent decision to delay ICD-10.
In fact, uncertainty surrounding ICD-10 deadlines could drive expenditures to far exceed what was spent to prepare for Y2K. A US Dept of Economics & Statistics report titled, The Economics of Y2K and the Impact on the United States, reported that an estimated $100B was spent by firms and public agencies during the Y2K ramp up from 1997-1999. Costs associated with Healthcare reform, EMR, and ICD-10 could easily dwarf these numbers as implementation dates slide.
For HIT/HIM professionals, now is the best of times! HIT/HIM professionals should market themselves and leverage skills accordingly. HIT/HIM professionals have taken on more duties and responsibilities in health organizations as they ramp up for multiple projects that are intricate and time sensitive. These organizations often struggle to give wage increases that reflect these new responsibilities due to outdated Merit Pay Systems or Human Resource programs that do not keep pace with the current demand market. Many HIT professionals have moved into consulting where the financial and career rewards can be much greater and skill sets are developed across multiple settings.
Healthcare Executives as well have moved to leverage the diverse skills sets of these HIT consultants to provide timely and efficient execution, while not adding additional FTE expenditures. Utilizing consultants also allows for flexibility based on uncertainties and the ability to budget accordingly. The challenge for Healthcare Executives today is that they are too focused on short-term cost – rather than the long-term ROI of the projects. One poorly implemented project or system can create havoc in the months and years following, for not only employees using the new systems, but also in lost revenue to the organization as productivity decreases. To complicate matters, many organizations have moved to VMS to control costs in the area of Human capital and dictate rates – many organizations have lost out on skilled talent that can maximize ROI and assist in future employment/provider of choice status.
Understanding that RATE = SELECTION creates a win/win for both the HIT/HIM professional who is seeking to maximize their value in a demand market, as well as the Healthcare organization attempting to navigate the many elements of Healthcare Reform. As the demand increases, the “war for talent” will escalate. Unlike Y2K, the party may continue for a long time with no definite end in sight.


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