As an IT worker, you have an incredibly marketable skill set. In this day and age, IT skills can be translated into a position in almost any industry—well, any industry where they're using computers anyways.
But what about healthcare? You've heard about the shift in the industry, and the high demand for IT professionals at hospitals and healthcare organizations, but are positions in health IT similar to IT positions in other industries?
Yes and no. Health IT is a new world for information technology, with huge implications for not only the tech world, but every person who's ever visited a doctor's office. However, a lot of the same skills you're using in your current position would serve you very well in health IT.
Programming and Development
As more hospitals and healthcare organizations implement electronic health records systems (EHRs) more application developers and programmers will be needed to advance the systems. This isn't just about digitizing records, it's about changing the way we record and transfer patient data, which is an ever-growing data set. The systems will become more complex and interesting as time goes on, so expect to see programmers and developers high on the list of health IT hires in the future.
Let's go back to that growing cache of data we just mentioned. Health IT is an enormous opportunity for IT professionals with a specialty in data management and analysis. Imagine a hospital sees 1,000 patients each day. A decent percentage of these people have likely never been to that hospital before, so let's assume that's at least 400 to 500 new sets of records per day. Add in medical histories, test results, prescriptions...it's a lot, and that's just a hypothetical scenario.
Beyond the data management, there is the possibility of data analysis to determine trends or even evaluate individual patients. With that much data at our fingertips, we could advance healthcare as a whole, not just health IT.
As we've noted, health IT is growing and expanding at a rapid rate, and as a result of that organization may experience growing pains. IT professionals with troubleshooting skills are very attractive to healthcare organizations, because with any new software implementation there are bound to be issues and there's a good chance that at some point, someone will break something. The ability to solve problems and think on your feet will serve you well in the health IT field.
There have been a number of hacks targeting healthcare organizations in recent years, paralleling the implementation of these EHR systems. Security is and will continue to be a huge issue for anyone storing large amounts of patient data, because these records include not only information about the patient's health, but personal information, like phone numbers, addresses, and Social Security numbers. Anyone working in IT with security knowledge and experience could easily transfer those skills to health IT, and would be welcomed with open arms.
No, this isn't technically an IT skill, but you know how difficult it can be to explain a programming issue or data storage back up to non-IT pros. In IT, you often work with both sets: the tech-savvy and the not-so-tech-savvy. Health IT is no different, but in this case, communication skills are even more imperative, because health IT workers need to be able to understand healthcare workers, and vice-versa. If you can partner your incredible technical knowledge with the ability to communicate in a clear and concise manner, you'll go far in health IT.
So if you're interested in using your skills to make a difference in the world of healthcare, get in touch with one of our specialized recruiters today.