Health Field Looks for Information Technology Workers
The health care industry is falling behind in the race to recruit young information technology workers, due in part to an inability to compete with the salaries and career opportunities provided by mainstream technology companies, the Dallas Morning News reports. The shortfall is particularly acute for medical technologists, who work with sophisticated diagnostic computer equipment. The American Society of Clinical Pathologists certifies about 2,400 medical technology students per year, while demand is nearly 5,000, according to Jody Talbert, a vice president at the health care recruiting firm Martin Fletcher & Associates in Irving, Texas. According to Talbert, hospital wages of $13 to $19.50 per hour are low in comparison with the salaries offered to tech workers elsewhere. Also, hospitals typically do not have the "large business structures" in their labs and IT departments to foster rapid upward mobility, according to the chief of pathology at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, which reports that vacancy rates for medical technologists exceed 10%. Elaine Norris, a medical technologist at Baylor, agrees that health care can't compete with the high-tech industry in terms of salary, but she argues that health care has a recruiting hook that companies such as Microsoft, Dell and Texas Instruments don't have. According to Norris, the health industry should encourage tech-minded people to ask not only what they can gain in terms of compensation, but also how their career choices help "society better itself" (Godinez, Dallas Morning News, 6/24).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.