Health information technology is a complex and exciting world. IT professionals who are looking for an industry change would be well-served to consider the opportunities that continue to be presented by the information technology field, particularly when coupled with a focus on healthcare.
The big-picture goal of applying health informatics to improve patient outcomes and population health is lofty, but achievable when well-rounded professionals come together to improve systems on a large scale. The transition to health informatics makes a world of sense for business, IT and IS professionals who are seeking a strong job market or the opportunity to make a positive impact in the lives of others. Here are a few reasons to consider making the transition to health informatics:
When non-profit IT organization CompTIA® published their “IT Industry Outlook 2016” in late 2015, the United States information technology industry accounted for approximately $1 trillion in economic impact. This included payroll for the more than five million workers employed by IT departments in all business sectors.
It is anticipated that 2016 could ultimately register the highest IT job growth rate since the mid-2000’s, which includes professionals who “develop, implement, maintain and utilize information technology directly or indirectly.” These jobs include hardware, software, services, infrastructure, information, and digital business.
The CompTIA® report also points to a trend toward specialization in IT. This development offers an opportunity for job seekers who seek to transition their skills from one sector to another. For professionals interested in health IT, degree programs such as a Master of Health Informatics can provide the necessary background in health records terminology, healthcare workflow, legislative mandates, data analytics, and other core competencies.
Job Growth & Stability
The August 2016 “Job Openings and Labor Turnover” Report distributed by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicated 91,000 job openings in the information sector. Demand for experienced professionals outweighs the available supply, which is particularly good news for IT consultants who want to move from job to job.
Additional data from the BLS as reported in the group’s “Employment Projections (2014-2024)” document specifically reveals opportunity for professionals interested in making the transition to health IT. To quote: “Healthcare occupations and industries are expected to have the fastest employment growth and to add the most jobs between 2014 and 2024.”
The BLS calculates a 13 percent growth in the “computer” occupation group, across all industries, through 2024. Software development and applications positions indicate a higher than average growth rate at 18.8 percent, with more than 135,000 new jobs by 2024.
Many IT professionals who transition to the healthcare industry find that their level of impact is much greater than in previous roles. Careers offer an opportunity to have a positive influence on the care that patients receive. This is true whether you are providing health IT services in a hospital, clinic, or private practice setting.
Depending on your position, you might secure patient data, assure data quality, enable physician access via a patient portal, or improve clinical applications used for charting, billing, medications, scheduling and other operational aspects. Health IT is a serious business with great responsibility. Your end-user, clinician or patient, has a vested interest in the work you do each day. There can be a great degree of personal satisfaction that comes with knowing you are making a difference in the lives others.
CompTIA®, IT Industry Outlook 2016
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Job Openings and Labor Turnover (August 2016)
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections (2014-2024)