As the healthcare industry transitions to electronic medical records, the role of project managers is becoming more critical. Project managers who want to work within the healthcare industry and who also enjoy working with technology may find a comfortable career working as an IT project manager in healthcare informatics.
Changes in federal law are driving the need for medical facilities to hire project managers who can oversee the conversion from paper records to electronic records. This challenging but potentially lucrative profession requires proper education and proficiency in both project management and health informatics.
IT project managers typically oversee large, often complicated projects that involve technology. The specifics differ based on the industry, but generally, project managers aim to produce quality results with maximum efficiency, on time and on budget. In the healthcare industry today, the largest IT project for most facilities is converting patient records from paper to electronic databases. Federal mandates require healthcare providers to make the shift to electronic health and medical records or face serious financial penalties with regard to Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement.
Project managers help improve business processes to ensure consistent, measurable results. Those involved with health informatics must manage records in such a way that the most up-to-date information is readily available to doctors, specialists, nurses and patients, so that better healthcare decisions can be made. This reduces costs and improves patient outcomes.
Industry experts anticipate a growth in the number of healthcare IT project managers as healthcare providers comply with federal mandates to transition to electronic records. This requires providers to install and manage new software systems. Project managers with expertise in health informatics are needed to not only handle the implementation of these new systems, but the ongoing process of managing of records.
The salary of a healthcare IT project manager will vary based on a number of factors such as physical location, education, the type of healthcare facility and the exact scope of the job. As this is an emerging field, the U.S. Department of Labor has not yet published salary data for this profession.
Indeed.com, a pay-for-performance job recruitment advertising network, estimates the average annual salary of a healthcare IT project manager at $102,000 as of June 2015. Indeed.com lists job openings and estimated salary figures across the country that may or may not be endorsed by the listing firms. Those pursuing project manager positions should do personal research in their local markets for the most accurate, up-to-date salary information.
Most project managers typically have earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration or a related field, and then attained certification as a project manager from the Project Management Institute. Typically, part of project management training involves gaining years of experience in the field, working under senior level managers.
Expertise in healthcare informatics can be acquired by earning a Master’s degree in Health Informatics or a Graduate Certificate in Health informatics. Programs at USF Health’s Morsani College of Medicine at the University of South Florida include coursework in medical business models, basic statistics and clinical information systems. USF Health has the only 100% online program offered through a top medical school.