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One of the largest health systems in North America partnered with TEKsystems to develop and run a healthcare information technology (HIT) internship program to attract and retain skilled talent in Saginaw County, Michigan.
The client, a nonprofit Catholic health system, operates a network of hospitals and health facilities throughout the United States. The client is one of the largest health systems in North America, serving more than 1,500 locations in more than 20 states and the District of Columbia. TEKsystems has partnered with this client since 2004.
One of the client’s facilities, a hospital located in Saginaw, Michigan, was having a difficult time finding skilled technical resources locally to meet their IT needs. IT professionals with clinical skill sets are not easy to find in the first place; in the U.S., there is only one HIT worker for every four HIT job openings.1
The client was looking for support in attracting skilled talent in a cost-effective manner. The client turned to their premier partner, TEKsystems, for a solution. As one of our national accounts, we have helped place over 400 people for the client’s various IT staff augmentation, IT services and IT training needs across the country.
The client and TEKsystems collaborated to create an HIT internship program at local colleges with HIT programs. These students have a myriad of HIT-related skill sets and can fill job descriptions such as clinical analysts, security analysts and network engineers. Our resources have primarily helped with the hospital’s electronic medical record (EMR) go-live efforts.
We reached out to two nearby colleges’ human resources departments to let them know that the hospital was looking to bring on paid interns. The experience would be mutually beneficial; the students would gain real-world experience and practice what they had learned in school, and the hospital would benefit from having enough skilled resources to support their IT efforts.
We put together an orientation package for the interns, sharing critical information that would help the interns be successful. The orientation included information about the leaders, the mission, their role and what’s proper in the workplace—particularly important for those students for whom this was their first professional experience. The client’s full-time staff took responsibility for training, developing and mentoring the interns.
Since 2012, the program has provided 12 skilled resources for the hospital. Four of those resources have gone on to become full-time employees for the client before or post-graduation. These students have not only supported the Saginaw-based hospital, they have also traveled to several of the client’s other facilities across the country to help with more go-live efforts. Thus far, the internship program has supported EMR go-live efforts at three hospitals and 20 ambulatory sites (i.e., physician offices).
In addition to giving the students real-world experience that will help them in their careers, the hospital has benefited from not only having the skill sets needed to achieve their goals, but also being able to do it within a modest budget.
The hospital’s CIO appreciated TEKsystems’ willingness to be creative and our openness to the internship partnership. Moving forward, TEKsystems has had the opportunity to increase our partnership with the hospital as well as open the door for expanding the program to the client’s other hospitals and ambulatory sites across the country that are experiencing similar resource attraction and retention issues. TEKsystems’ presence in over 100 markets across North America enables our recruiters to find and deliver the required skill sets—whether they’re located in Detroit or Saginaw—to help our healthcare clients make IT possible.