Rhapsody Health Solutions Team

How to fill the interoperability talent gap

Highly skilled interoperability talent was hard enough to come by before the pandemic, but in the wake of COVID-19, the Great Resignation, and skyrocketing wage inflation, health IT leaders are struggling more than ever to attract and retain talent. Leaders are navigating digital transformation initiatives; infrastructure modernization; mergers, acquisitions, and divestitures; pandemic response; and cybersecurity threats—and they’re doing so with fewer staff.  

This talent shortage is more than an inconvenience. The gap in IT talent impedes an organization’s ability to deliver new services and grow, negatively impacts clinician and patient experience, and increases risks to patient safety and data security.  

To fill the gap, some healthcare organizations, including many Rhapsody customers, outsource integration challenges to their interoperability partners. Health IT leaders benefit by partnering with Rhapsody interoperability experts, who are at the forefront of technical implementations and messaging standard evolution. Some leaders are using the disruption of staff attrition to accelerate cloud strategies. 

At Rhapsody, we’re experiencing the effects of the health IT shortage through an increased demand for Professional Services and Support engagements, more interest in as-a-service cloud offerings, and even fully managed interoperability solutions.  

David Li, vice president of Americas Solutions Delivery, joined Rhapsody in 2007 and began noticing an uptick in demand for and duration of Professional Services engagements over the past two years. The increased demand shows no signs of abating, he says. 

“Historically, customer requests for staff augmentation services have been aligned with somebody retiring from a healthcare organization and they need short-term assistance to bridge the gap as they look to fill that position,” Li says. In the past, staff-augmentation engagements were limited to weeks to months. 

“Now we’re seeing a 5-fold increase in these types of requests as well as an increase in duration,” Li says. “We’re talking about an entire quarter or up to a year because of the current market conditions.” 

Kevin Day, chief technology officer at Rhapsody, says some customers view their staffing shortage as an opportunity to move to health data integration to the cloud. “They’re seeing the attrition of their IT staff and recognizing benefits of the cloud, including less infrastructure overhead,” Day says.  

To serve our customers through short-term or permanent IT talent shortages, and to help them on their migration to the cloud, we offer: 

Professional Services. Engage with Rhapsody Professional Services to help you implement your interoperability solutions quickly and effectively, including integration projects, system migrations, and staffing transitions and augmentation.  

Subscription Services. Subscribe up-front to a recurring set of Professional Services hours to ensure proactive and flexible engagement. You can choose from an annual tier of discounted PS hours that can be used on any engagement. 

Cloud Migration Services. Integrate data across many technology platforms, including on-premises and newer, cloud-based applications. Moving healthcare integrations to the cloud simplifies maintenance and security, while positioning organizations for a cloud-based future.   

In addition to Professional Services, we offer staffing relief to customers through infrastructure hosting options including: 

Interoperability as a fully managed service. With this option, you outsource your interoperability infrastructure operations and interface development to us. Deployed on the Rhapsody AWS instance, we provide the configuration, development, and infrastructure management. This offering is called Envoy Managed Services and is well suited for organizations that have small IT teams or prefer that their IT team focus on initiatives other than integrations. 

Interoperability as a service. With these options, also deployed on the Rhapsody AWS instance, Rhapsody manages the development and infrastructure—ensuring business continuity, scalability, and security—while you manage the interfaces. The benefit of this path is being able to scale reliably and securely in a trusted cloud environment, with a lower cost of ownership. This path is offered via two solutions: Corepoint as a service and Rhapsody as a service

To read more on this topic, see Day’s article in MedCity News, Solving health IT labor gaps with strategic interoperability partnerships, where he offers six steps for identifying the right interoperability partner, including evaluating their:  

  1. Capabilities. Can your partner fulfill the mission that you’re asking them to do? Do they offer a full suite of solutions, including data integration and data quality tools?  
  1. Industry knowledge. Do they understand the unique needs of the healthcare space? Are well versed in all data standards and transport methods? 
  1. Cybersecurity measures. What cybersecurity measures is your partner taking? Are they ISO27001 certified? Do they comply with regional data protection laws, such as HIPAA and GDPR? 
  1. Level of responsiveness. How quickly is your partner responding during the RFP and pre-sales processes? Are they meeting realistic timelines? 
  1. Experience and skillsets. What workflows has the partner supported? Do they have a breadth and depth of connecting with different data trading partners? 
  1. A continual learning mentality. How does your partner treat its employees? Do they invest in the entire skillset lifecycle for their team members? Do they foster an environment that allows developers to innovate and solve integration challenges creatively and securely? 

To learn more about how you can address staffing shortages on your IT team—either in the short term or for the long haul, watch this on-demand webinar, How to fill the health IT talent gap. You’ll hear from Kevin Day and Stephanie Santisteven as they discuss these challenges and how we can help you solve them.

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