Key Health Care IT Trends
The good news is that primary focus now seems to be squarely on improving the overall quality of health care and the reduction of human errors.
The job postings for health informatics grew by 36 percent from 2007 to 2011, compared with a 9 percent growth in all health care postings, and 6 percent increase in all U.S. jobs, according to a study by Credentials that Work, an initiative that uses labor-market data to help colleges align their offerings with real jobs.
Like many tech jobs, these positions aren't fully tracked by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. It follows just one one type of health informatics position, medical records and health information technician, that accounts for only 60 percent of health informatics jobs. It fails to track the growth in positions such as supervisor and manager, auditor and compliance review staff, and clinical documentation and improvement specialists, the report says.
A new directory of training programs in health care IT has been launched by the Healthcare Information and Management System Society (HIMSS), through its State HIT Dashboard. The directory lists 499 programs at 395 institutions. Many of them are the community-college-level programs that offer short-term training funded through the federal stimulus package. But because the required skills are increasing, new grads might not be mobbed with job offers.
One Pennsylvania consultancy, however, is taking on "junior consultants" in health care IT projects, at the same time easing the shortage of qualified staff and providing real-world training to those new to the field, EHR Intelligence reports. Stoltenberg Consulting in Bethel Park, Pa., pairs the junior consultant with a seasoned pro to learn project management principles, hospital workflow, clinical transformation and vendor-specific technology.