"Fifty to sixty percent of those CEOs are saying they're concerned that they don't have the skills required to execute the strategy that they just created," said Daniel Garrett, PwC Healthcare IT Practice Leader. "That's, to me, a signal that there's a real issue here."
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A McKinsey & Co. study predicted the U.S. could see a shortage of two million health-care analytics workers by 2018. The firm's Healthcare Information Technology practice leader Steve Van Kuiken said health-care executives are facing some of the same issues faced by other industry leaders during the tech boom in the late 1990s.
"It's not a skill-set they're used to buying or hiring, and frankly they're competing with companies and start-ups for this talent, so they're not used to compensating it the right way," he said. "What we tell them is—you've got to think about a build-and-buy strategy for this talent."
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Over the last two years, health services firms have been buying the big data talent that they needed. In December, McKessonacquired population health specialty firm MedVentive, for an undisclosed sum.
In January, UnitedHealth Group subsidiary Optum bought clinical bench-marking firm Humedica, after having acquired customer analytics powerhouse Connextions in 2011.