Rural health information technology and informatics workforce assessment: a pilot study

Martina A Clarke, Anne Skinner, James C McClay, Robert Hoyt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Many states in the US are predominately rural and frequently depend on critical access hospitals (CAHs) for medical care. Due to the small size of many of these facilities, they often do not have staff adequately trained in health information technology (HIT), informatics or analytics. Their specific needs are often unknown and may vary. In this study, we determined the Nebraska CAH’s health informatics workforce needs in order to design an applied curriculum in health informatics. Methods: We developed and administered a survey to quantify workforce needs related to HIT, informatics and analytics. Hospital leaders from fourteen of 63 CAHs in Nebraska responded to a survey with an overall response rate of 22%. Both closed-ended questions and free text comments were analyzed. Results: Around half of the senior hospital leaders reported that their staff needed additional education and training in several areas to meet informatics needs. Specifically, more than 50% of respondents reported the demand for education and training in the Analytical Tools domain, Organization Learning domain, Decision Support Systems domain, and Interoperability domain. Less than 50% of respondents indicated their hospital personnel could benefit from education and training, especially in the Electronic Health Records domain, Management of Health Information Systems and Health Information Management domain. Conclusion: CAHs in Nebraska need ongoing workforce training and education in the areas of data analysis, data-driven organizational improvement/learning, decision support systems, and interoperability. Training modules addressing these areas are needed for rural CAH staff.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)427-435
Number of pages9
JournalHealth and Technology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2023


  • Critical access hospital
  • General acute hospitals
  • Health informatics
  • Health information technology
  • Workforce

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Biomedical Engineering


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