Health Care IT Still Needs Critical Care
Despite focusing on compliance and security issues, progress to date has been somewhat limited.
The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society's Nursing Informatics Workforce Survey released in March showed that those at the intersection of health care and IT can command dandy salaries.
Average salary among those polled was $98,703, up 17 percent from 2007, and 42 percent from 2004.
And though the government has spent big bucks through the federal stimulus package to ramp up training in that area, for now, it's still a really tight labor market.
If you're a solid performer and you've been working for a couple of years with products from Epic, Cerner, Meditech or any of the other electronic health record vendors - and especially if you're willing to travel - the sky is kind of the limit for opportunity. You can pick and choose what you'd like to be doing and get paid very well for it.
The article points to a PricewaterhouseCoopers report predicting that health care spending will make up nearly 20 percent of the U.S. economy by 2019 and another by research firm RNCOS forecasting 24 percent spending growth on health care technology in the United States between 2012 and 2014.
But the crunch is right now when providers are under a time crunch to meet deadlines for federal mandates for electronic health records. Those most successful in bridging the gap tend to come from health care, Marx says. IT people can do it, though he says be forewarned:
There's not a huge difference between coming out as a fresh college graduate and getting retrained in health care IT. After a year of experience, you'll be in good shape and then other hospitals and providers will be looking for you. But initially, that first step is the most difficult.
Though selected universities and community colleges won federal funding initially to offer training that would get health IT pros into the market quickly, the curricula developed for those programs has been released to the public so any organization can set up its own training.