A new report from consultancy and software firm Computer Sciences Corp. examines the health information technology workforce shortage.

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology estimates 50,000 additional IT workers are needed during the next five years, which is about 50 percent more than the current workforce of 108,000. The biggest demand now for staff obviously is to prepare for implementation of EHRs and health information exchange applications, Falls Church, Va.-based CSC notes.

There are, however, other pressing needs. "Hospitals and practices, for example, must also respond to tightened HIPAA data security standards, adopt ICD-10 coding and new transaction standards, and closely follow reimbursement reforms (including new administrative structures such as accountable care organizations) for necessary revenue cycle system modifications," according to the report. "In addition, the Affordable Care Act specifies development and operation of online health insurance exchanges in every state by 2014."

The report lays out various challenges to beefing the IT workforce and examples of successful strategies. To access the report, click here.

This article can also be found at HealthDataManagement.com.

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