Demand For Health Care IT Jobs On The Rise

Evidence from two new reports from health care IT industry organisations shows demand for health care-related technology jobs in the US is on the rise

It’s not uncommon to hear about the high demand of medical-related jobs such as nursing.

With an aging Baby Boomer population, the expectation for growing demand in health care jobs is real, according to the US Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor statistics, which predicted “3.2 million new wage and salary jobs between 2008 and 2018, more than any other industry, largely in response to rapid growth in the elderly population” in an updated February report.

IT is expected to reap some of the benefits of this health care growth spurt. Evidence from a couple of new reports from health care IT industry organisations shows demand for health care-related technology jobs is on the rise. 

Hospitals, medical clinics, doctor’s offices and other health care organizations are facing government-mandated deadlines in a host of areas such as electronic medical records (EMR), clinical systems and new privacy and medical-coding standards.

The U.S. government’s 2009 American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) requires that health care organizations show “meaningful use” of certified health care IT products if those organizations want to reap the financial subsidies the government is offering, and that is spurring increased technology budgets and new job demand.

The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) recently surveyed 398 of its members in January and took the pulse of IT budgets and the priorities for 2010.

Here are some highlights the report discovered:

 “Asked to identify their single IT priority during the next two years, 42 percent of respondents identified meeting meaningful use criteria. Many likely will be doing so by implementing clinical systems: when asked to identify their organisation’s primary clinical IT focus, 35 percent said it would be ensuring their organisation has a fully functional electronic medical record (EMR) in place and 27 percent said it would focus on installing a computer order entry (CPOE) system…

“[M]ore than one-third (38 percent) said government issues were the business issue they felt would have the biggest impact on healthcare in the next two years, whereas last year, only six percent thought that was the case. This year’s response reflects compliance with new regulations regarding meaningful use, as well as coding upgrades and claim processes impacted by ICD-10 (the World Health Organisation’s International Classification of Diseases) and the updated version of HIPAA (5010).”

What kind of health IT jobs are needed over the next five years? Another report by the American Society of Health Informatics Managers (ASHIM) surveyed 135 currently employed health IT workers and discovered that application support and training and EMR consulting were the top two expected areas of IT job growth. That is followed by jobs in desktop and network support and a range of jobs listed as “other”. Those other jobs include: “audit, compliance, risk analysts, developers, QA, sdlc positions, clinical analysts, data/information managers, privacy and security experts, health it managers, integration specialists, it project managers, it/clinical liaisons, rns with healthcare informatics, business analysts, software engineers, data architects, transition coordinators.”

“While employers are ramping up to adopt Electronic Health Records (EHR), IT workers are looking to augment their skills to meet those needs and to effectively communicate their qualifications,” said ASHIM Senior Vice President Stephanie L. Jones in a 9 Feb. statement. “ASHIM believes it is important to understand and support the evolving needs of the health care community and will continue conducting this survey, adjusting questions, to inquire about them.”