Technology is changing the face of healthcare. Groundbreaking trends are making it possible to provide a higher level of care to patients, while cutting costs for healthcare organizations. This creates endless career possibilities for aspiring healthcare professionals: their help is needed to make the transition. The result has been a slew of new career possibilities for those in healthcare IT.
Healthcare Trends Causing Major Changes
Some of the top trends already having a significant impact on health IT workers include:
- Major Healthcare System Mergers: Experts predict that many healthcare organizations will merge in the next five to seven years, causing the need for innovative new IT systems.
- Growing Use of Big Data: An increasing number of healthcare organizations are using big data to improve patient care and outcomes, create sustainable healthcare systems and increase patient access to healthcare.
- Personalized Medicine: Rather than simply concentrating on healing a patient’s symptoms, personalized medicine focuses on the genetic cause of diseases, allowing for more efficient diagnoses, treatment and care.
- Increased Social Sharing: The overwhelming popularity of social media has made it possible for users to engage with one another online, sharing healthcare information and ideas, rather than solely relying on medical professionals.
New Trends Mean Increased Demand for Health Jobs
The onset of these new trends is resulting in an increased demand for healthcare IT professionals in a wide-variety of roles, including:
- Health Data Analyst: These professionals interpret a large amount of patient data to create easy-to-understand reports that assist healthcare professionals in providing top-quality patient care. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts the demand for health data analysts will increase by 20% through 2018.
- Health Informatics Director: An increasing number of medical organizations are adding this innovative new position to oversee the implementation of electronic health systems and train medical professionals on how to use them. A 2010 study by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) indicated that professionals holding this position with a bachelor’s degree earn an average annual salary of $99,224 ─ increasing to $105,158 with a master’s degree.
- Nursing Informatics Professional: Known as clinical analysts, informatics nurse specialists, directors of clinical informatics or clinical informatics coordinators, these professionals are responsible for creating, enhancing, testing and training nurses to use new IT systems. They rarely perform patient care, focusing instead on improving patient care and cutting costs for healthcare organizations. According to a 2014 survey by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), these professionals earn an average annual salary of $100,717.
Earn an Advanced Degree in Health Informatics
Earning an advanced degree in health informatics can help professionals gain a competitive advantage in the field. Health informatics professionals are in demand, as healthcare organizations continue working to create electronic health records (EHRs) to satisfy federal regulations, improve patient care and cut medical costs. Not only can professionals in this field enjoy a stable future, they also are helping to revolutionize the healthcare industry.