A new and free study from HIMSS Analytics assesses the U.S. health information technology workforce environment during 2013.

The firm in February and March surveyed 224 executives working at hospitals, delivery systems and I.T. vendors, with three-quarters representing providers. Findings include:

* Eighty percent of provider respondents hired at least one I.T. employee last year with more than half of providers hiring one to five, and more than half of vendors hiring more than 20. Seventy-five percent of all respondents expect to hire additional I.T. staff this year.

* Clinical application support and help desk, by a large margin, were the top areas for I.T. hiring in the past year.

* Nearly half of providers placed an I.T. project on hold, or considered doing so, because it could not be fully staffed.

* Three-quarters of providers currently outsource an I.T. service while 93 percent have plans to outsource a function during the next year.

* The most important professional certifications, for surveyed providers and vendors, are for network/architecture support and security.

The report is available here.

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