Data mining. Computer engineering. Software analysis. These are all terms that sound like they belong to a job in a cubicle somewhere working for a monolithic corporation. Information technology is much more than that, however, and just like with any business it has an important place in hospitals. Some say it is even transforming the future of patient care.
The archetypal millennial has grown up with a computer glued to their fingertips. We look to Google for answers to questions our parents poured over encyclopedias for hours to find. Many can build a website or filter a data set in their sleep. The dilemma lies in how to tie these skills to a career or industry that resonates with our core values. One of the most relevant growing industries today does just that – healthcare.
What types of jobs are there available for someone who is interested in information technology in a field that crosses over with medical care? The answer is A LOT. We are highlighting three of the exciting career paths where healthcare and IT intersect but this is just the beginning. Download our healthcare industry guide more information on the exciting technology jobs in medical fields.
Healthcare and IT Job Categories
We used real-time Burning Glass data to pull a listing of jobs in the healthcare industry that include “information technology” as a requisite skill. Some of the results are obvious and some are newer fields that have become increasingly more relevant in the last couple of years:
Entry-level hot jobs: medical records and health information technician
What: The entry-level category of information technology jobs in healthcare is perhaps the most obvious group, Medical Records and Health Information Technician (HIT). This category, which accounted for 74,939* job postings last year, includes positions such as medical coding, medical records analyst, health information technician and clinical documentation. Specialists in health information utilize a practiced understanding of ICD-9 (soon to be ICD-10) coding language to track and analyze medical records.
How: Most HIT positions require a certificate or diploma to start along with a registered health information technician (RHIT) or certified coding associate (CCA) credential. In other words, you will be able to complete your degree in as little as nine months to enter this growing field.
Why: HIT and coding positions are also projected to grow by 28 percent through 2020. They have an average salary of $34,160 per year, and open the door for career growth into hospital management positions such as those listed above.
Careers to work towards: medical and health service managers
What: The largest category by far is the umbrella of medical and health service managers. The roughly 288,180 job postings last year,* included titles such as office manager, medical records manager and program manager. These are upper level positions that direct the medical services in hospitals and provide oversight to lower level health information positions.
How: Hospital managerial positions take some leg work to get into. You will need at least a bachelor’s degree and most likely a master’s. Most information management positions also require certification through the Commission on Certification for Health Informatics and Information Management (CCHIIM).
Why: Jobs in this category are anticipated to grow by up to 28 percent through 2020, significantly faster than the U.S. average of 7 percent. The average annual salary came in at $88,580, well over the designated “middle class” mean of $50,054 for an entire American household.
Emerging career trend: quality coordinator / quality specialist
What: The newest emerging category for IT jobs in healthcare is surrounding the collecting and analysis of quality data. Part of the new Affordable Care Act, which went into effect on Oct. 1, 2013, includes ratings of hospital performance based upon quality. In order to meet these requirements, hospitals will be increasingly relying on specialists in medical coding and data analysis to monitor and report on the quality of their operations. Over 4,000 of these types of positions, which are being posted as “quality coordinator” or “quality specialist,” have been posted within the last six months.**
How: Nearly 75 percent of current postings require a bachelor’s degree in either nursing or business/healthcare management. They also list data analysis and medical coding as top skills required for the job, so a certification in ICD coding would be very helpful.
Why: If you are considering either a career in nursing or healthcare management, a specialization in quality would be a really timely point of differentiation. With the quality measures in the Affordable Care Act now in effect, Experts believe that this field will continue to grow, due in large part to the Affordable Care Act, aging baby boomers and other ongoing trends in the industry.
So, what next?
If any of these growing fields sparked your interest, and you are looking to combine an aspiration to care for others with your skills in information technology, our healthcare career guide will provide you with more details any of the above careers. On their own, these two fields are full of exciting opportunities with a boon of jobs expected in coming years. Together, they could be your secret to merging your skills into a career you can be passionate about for years to come.
*Source: BurningGlass.com (analysis of healthcare–IT related job openings, Oct. 1, 2012 to Sep. 31, 2013)
**Source: BurningGlass.com (analysis of quality jobs at hospitals, Apr. 1, 2013 to Sep. 31, 2013)