Health Information Technology Careers: Forecast Looks Bright
In the age of big data, numbers help tell the story of how technology is transforming health care — for example, $100 billion. That’s the amount that health care providers are now spending annually on health information technology, according to a CNBC report that cites ongoing advances in the use of electronic health records, online patient portals, health apps and more.
Not surprisingly, this means that health information technology careers are also on the rise. According to the CNBC report and video (“How Technology is Poised to Create a Career Boom in Health Care”), up to 50,000 jobs will be added to the health IT market this year.
As vice president of informatics at the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), Joyce Sensmeier truly has her finger on the pulse of this fast-growing industry, and on the countless ways that technology is revolutionizing how health care is practiced, delivered and experienced.
Her role also gives her unique insight into the health information technology jobs market, in part because HIMSS administers health IT certification programs that help prospective candidates position themselves for these good-paying, next-generation jobs.
“It’s a very exciting career,” said Sensmeier, who came from a nursing background and gained experience as a nurse informaticist before joining HIMSS. She said that for job seekers — especially those with experience in health care, information technology or both — “it’s really a huge opportunity right now.”
Reflecting on the “sea change” in how we use technology to gather health data and improve care, she said, “we are really poised now to use that data to impact patient care in a positive way.”
For those now working in the field or exploring a career in health information technology, the opportunity to help individual patients (and entire populations) live healthier lives is often part of the appeal. “At the end of the day,” Sensmeier said, “I think we’d each like to a be part of something that’s worthwhile.”
Health Information Technology: Key Numbers & Statistics
Here’s a closer look at some key numbers and statistics that tell the story of how information technology is creating a healthier world.
2009 — Year that Congress passed the HITECH Act (Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act), federal legislation that called for fast-track adoption of electronic health records and paved the way for the rapid rise of health IT.
$100 Billion — The amount that health care providers around the world are now spending annually on health information technology. (CNBC)
3,889 — The fast-growing number of Health Care Information Technology Startups (with a $4.8 million average valuation) listed on Angel List, a web platform that tracks startups and provides information for angel investors and job-seekers.
$84,000 — Median salary for a Clinical Informatics Coordinator, according to HealthInformationCareers.com.
90% — According to USA Today, as recently as a decade ago nine out of 10 U.S. doctors used pen and paper to maintain and update patient records, which were all kept in hard copy. By 2015, however, 87% of physicians reported having made the switch to electronic medical records.
43% — Percentage of hospitals that now offer telehealth consultations and office visits, according to Hospitals & Health Networks annual Most Wired Survey.
50,000 —The projected number of new jobs to be added to the U.S. health information market starting in 2017. (CNBC)
65% — Percentage of hospitals that have implemented a formal mobile device strategy to acknowledge and shape the growing use of mobile devices by both providers and patients. Such policies often focus protocols for use and on how the technology can make workflows more efficient and improve user satisfaction.
$146,000 — Average salary for a Health Informatics Director, a senior-level position that generally requires a master’s degree (or Ph.D.) and eight years of related experience.
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Conclusion: The prognosis is bright for job seekers looking to enter the field of health information technology; brighter still for those with a background in health care, IT or both; and brightest of all for those with an advanced degree.
The University of San Diego — a HIMSS Approved Education Partner — is helping to train the next generation of health informatics leaders and innovators through its Master of Science in Health Care Informatics online degree program.