Electronic Medical Record (EMR) implementation has given the IT field a healthy boost in employment. Two and a half percent of healthcare related jobs now are related to EMR implementation, informatics or other health IT initiatives, according to research published in Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society.
The most sought-after skill, according to the study, is implementation support, with 43 percent of job openings requiring system installation, purchasing or workflow design responsibilities.
The number of opportunities is expected to climb as healthcare providers scramble to meet federal mandates to implement electronic records or face serious financial penalties. EMR implementation is required under the Affordable Care Act of 2010.
In an effort to advocate for implementing EMR into medical practices, an incentive program has been created by the federal government. Professionals who are able to meet specific federal requirements for EMR are eligible for up to $44,000 through the Medicare Electronic Health Records Incentive Program and up to $63,750 through the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program. In addition, professionals providing service in a location deemed a “Health Professional Shortage Area” may be eligible or additional incentives.
Job seekers in the health informatics field got a boost from the government’s plan. The first phase of the EMR incentive program created an 86 percent increase in related job postings, according to researchers.
Since 2007 job postings in health informatics have increased 10 times faster than healthcare jobs overall, according to a study by the labor market analytics firm Burning Glass. These jobs make up the ninth largest share of healthcare occupation postings.
This sudden demand has left employers with many openings that cannot be filled, because of a lack of skilled workers. According to a Burning glass report, Missed Opportunities? The Labor Market in Health Informatics, 2014, health informatics jobs remain open longer than the national average, a sign that employers are struggling to fill these positions. The need for qualified candidates is anticipated to grow, so those with health informatics skills should find a competitive, amicable market for their expertise. Employers’ need for qualified candidates will continue to grow, so those with IT skills should find a competitive, amicable market for their expertise.
Health informatics positions involve the collection, handling and processing of clinical information for purposes ranging from billing to medical quality assurance. IT knowledge is required to work in this industry.
The health informatics field also has become increasingly integrated into clinical care management. After the influx of implementation for EMR, there will be a need for IT professionals with experience in Health 2.0.
Jobs for medical record clerks, which require the lowest skill level in the health informatics field, are declining. Many employers are looking for specialized medical coders, who typically require a certification and specialized clinical knowledge, according to the study.
For higher-level health information management jobs, clinical expertise also has become a requirement. The study shows that almost a third of clinical analyst job listings specifically mention an RN or background in nursing.