Just How Stressed Are Professionals in Health IT?

Guest post by Tim Cannon, vice president of product management and marketing, HealthITJobs.com 

Tim Cannon
Tim Cannon

All jobs can be stressful at times, but anyone who works in health IT will tell you that their job is considerably stressful. In fact, 55 percent of health IT professionals surveyed in The 2016 Health IT Stress Report, by my employer HealthITJobs.com, said they are at least frequently or constantly stressed.

Among those surveyed, 38 percent rated their stress intensity as high or extremely high, while 45 percent said their stress occurs on a frequent or chronic basis.

What’s so stressful about health IT and what impact does it have on employees? Here’s a closer look at the findings and what they mean for professionals in the field:

Work management causes stress

What stresses health IT professionals out the most? Constantly changing priorities. Among respondents, 39 percent rated changing priorities as the top stressor. What’s more, 45 percent said they have little or no control over deadlines and timelines for accomplishing project milestones.

Although project management and their lack of control in the process stresses employees out, they don’t blame their manager for the problems. Only 15 percent listed managers as a top source of stress. In fact, respondents actually have great relationships with their managers, describing them as supportive, smart, and trustful.

With such supportive managers, health IT professionals should turn to them when work gets hectic. Instead of struggling with stress on your own, talk it out with your manager. Let them know when changing priorities are a problem, and talk to them about working together to set project timelines. If a deadline seems unreasonable, give your input and suggestion for a more practical timeframe for completion.

Workloads are unreasonable

After changing priorities, the workload itself gives health IT professionals the most stress — 35 percent of respondents rated it as a top stressor. An additional 35 percent of professionals said they have an unrealistic amount of work to do in the time given. And those who said they are frequently stressed were more likely to say their workload was too much to handle.

What’s bogging down workloads? Meetings could be the culprit. According to the survey, 27 percent of professionals spend 11 or more hours in meetings each week, and those who are frequently stressed are more likely to do so.

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