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The Battle for IT Talent in Healthcare: EHR Companies vs Health Systems

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Ayanna Amadi
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The Battle for IT Talent in Healthcare: EHR Companies vs Health Systems

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The healthcare sector is becoming increasingly digitized and reliant on technology. This has sparked an intense competition for IT talent between health systems and Electronic Health Record (EHR) companies like Epic and Oracle Health. This article delves into this competition, the use of non-compete contracts, and the potential impact of this tug-of-war on the future of healthcare.

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The Epic Non-Compete Clause

One of the key players in this competition is Epic, a leading EHR vendor. Epic has a significant influence on the direction of this IT talent war, largely due to its non-compete agreements. These contracts prevent employees from leaving Epic to work for its clients, leading to an interesting dynamic where health systems are not competing with Epic itself for talent, but rather with other Epic customers. This unique set-up is a result of Epic’s proactive approach to retaining talent and protecting its business interests.

The CMS Wage Index System

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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' (CMS) wage index system also plays a significant role in this competition. This system adjusts payments to healthcare providers based on the geographic region's cost of living. This means health systems in high-cost areas are often able to offer more competitive salaries, attracting talent away from EHR vendors and other health systems in lower-cost regions.

The Clash of Cultures

Beyond the financial aspects, the competition for IT talent also involves a clash of cultures and work environments. There are distinct differences between for-profit EHR vendors and provider organizations. For example, EHR companies like Epic and Oracle Health often have a more corporate, profit-driven culture. On the other hand, provider organizations, such as hospitals and health systems, tend to have a more patient-focused, care-oriented environment. These differences can make a significant impact on where IT professionals choose to work.

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Looking to the Future

Looking ahead, this competition is expected to shape the healthcare industry in various ways. According to Deloitte's 2024 Health Care Industry Outlook survey, workforce talent challenges will be one of the five key factors impacting healthcare. Organizations will need to navigate issues surrounding mergers and acquisitions, digital transformation, and empowered consumers. To thrive in this changing landscape, healthcare leaders will need to devise strategies to attract and retain IT talent, consider outsourcing and offshoring options, and adapt to the evolving needs and expectations of consumers.

Conclusion

The competition for IT talent between health systems and EHR companies is more than just a battle over human resources. It is a reflection of the broader changes and challenges facing the healthcare industry. As technology continues to play a vital role in healthcare, the demand for IT professionals will only grow. How health systems and EHR companies navigate this competition will significantly impact the future of healthcare delivery and patient care.

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