The field of health information technology is one anyone with a bit of computer or programming background should consider. While it comes with it’s own set of certifications after your regular training, the specialization is one that is in incredibly high demand and continues to show enormous growth.
Changes to Medical Record Keeping
It’s not all about the Affordable Care Act, either. The medical industry has been working hard to streamline information systems while at the same time protecting patient privacy and not breaking HIPAA regulations. Medical groups and organizations have been slowly but surely transitioning from paper files to electronic files, making it easier for information to be shared with insurance companies, other healthcare providers, and the government.
This is both a blessing and a frightening prospect. In terms of sharing information, this is an incredible breakthrough, as patients won’t have to do as much work to get their files transferred from doctor to specialist or from hospitals back to doctors. On the other hand, it will make it easier for organizations like Medicare and other insurance companies to see what treatments and protocols doctors have recommended – and in the future it may not be a surprise to find that coverage is limited or denied for certain procedures or treatments if, for example, you neglected to follow advice your physician gave you (like to stop smoking). It remains to be seen how the availability of information will tie to our rights, HIPPA, and “big brother.”
Working in Health IT
If you’re looking for work, though, the field continues to grow. A lot of organizations are still working hard to meet ICD-10 Meaningful Use mandates and there aren’t as many qualified workers as were initially needed. Health IT consultants are commanding salaries as high as $150,000 and up. Software companies are earning $120,000 for development and related work. According to Fierce Health IT, the average health IT employee was earning $113,000 annually and more than 2/3 responded YES when asked if they had earned a raise. There aren’t many industries where that’s very common anymore.
The numbers speak for themselves. The field continues to grow, averaging a few percentage points of growth per year. It’s not just the development of health IT software we have to consider. It’s implementation and training. A lot of organizations have to now create or expand their IT departments by creating more health IT jobs in order to keep up, to this is a field where we’ve seen and will continue to see job creation as well.
It doesn’t matter if you’re already in the IT field or if you’re currently in training. The healthcare aspect is a division you should keep your eyes on.