People considering careers in information technology will find some of the highest demand for IT skills in the healthcare industry.
Thanks in part to an aging U.S. population and the Affordable Healthcare Act, the number of healthcare jobs in America is booming. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the number of healthcare jobs will increase 29 percent between 2012 and 2022.
“Healthcare is hot. IT is hot. Put them together, it’s super hot,” Rush University Medical Center vice president of IT Jaime Parent told Healthcare IT News in March.
The Affordable Healthcare Act set standards for electronic recordkeeping in healthcare. As medical practices and hospitals scramble to meet those standards, they need IT professionals for software training, systems maintenance and systems security. The changes in healthcare recordkeeping have even spurred the creation of a new job category, health informatics, which describes systems for collaboration among a patient’s various healthcare providers.
Although health IT used to account for between 5 percent and 10 percent of a hospital’s total IT budget, it now takes up between 25 percent and 35 percent, according to an Information Week article. So many healthcare IT jobs are being created in Maine that Eastern Maine Community College has launched a certificate program specifically for that field.
Here are some commonly advertised healthcare IT jobs:
- Experts in specific electronic health records software, including popular software made by Epic and Cerner
- People to train others to use electronic health records software
- Directors and executives to oversee implementation and maintenance of electronic health records systems
- Analysts and consultants to build reports around data collected in electronic health records systems
- People to integrate health records systems with other information systems for hospitals and healthcare organizations
- Programmers to implement mandatory changes in how diagnoses and treatments are recorded for healthcare providers.
According to HealthITJobs.com, the healthcare industry has critical needs for programmers to develop applications, project managers, Internet security experts, people to manage mobile and cloud–based systems, and people to sort through and analyze large amounts of data.
HealthITJobs.com recently published a white paper examining the need for IT employees with both technical expertise and medical clinical experience. It’s a rare combination. Nurses, doctors and others spend years learning to treat patients and usually haven’t had time to learn computer systems.
The demand for healthcare IT workers makes now an ideal time for people with clinical experience to “cross over” and put that experience to work creating systems that both improve patient care and are easy to use.