5 reasons to pick a career in health care IT
Wanted: information technology professional eager to step out of the server room and work directly with health care providers. Must be willing to break new ground in medical technology and adapt to change. Desire for job security recommended. Clinical and nonclinical roles available. Associate or bachelor’s degree required.
If that sounds appealing, you might consider a career in health care IT. Mary Anne Moore, an instructor in the bachelor’s in health administration program at University of Phoenix and a 40-year health care IT consultant, offers five reasons to consider a job in this field:
You’ll have a variety of places to work.
Health care IT covers an array of work environments, so you’re not limited to hospitals. “You can work for a health insurance company, clinic, hospital, university, vendor, laboratory or pharmacy,” Moore says.
She also cites health care IT’s distinct culture as another thing that makes it special and attractive to IT professionals. “Even though you may not interact directly with patients, the work you do affects them,’’ she says. “It’s a culture of caring, unlike other industries where the bottom line might be more important.”
It has great career prospects.
Whether in a hospital or nonclinical position, IT careers are here to stay — and growing. A report by the nonprofit Jobs for the Future shows that job postings in health care informatics increased by 36 percent from 2007 to 2011 — four times the growth rate of other health care careers. Moore says there are even more jobs available in health care IT for those willing to work in consulting or education.
Collaboration is encouraged.
Dislike the idea of being trapped in a dark room with nothing but the glow of the computer screen to keep you company? Health care IT is an industry for people who enjoy collaboration. “You often work directly with clinicians on projects,” Moore points out, “so you have the opportunity to see firsthand what your work is accomplishing.”
There’s always something new to do.
“The one fun thing about health care is that we are just scratching the surface of what IT applications are capable of,” Moore says. “You will never be bored.”
Yen Hoe Lee, a health informatics security director, agrees. “It is a very exciting time for this field because a lot of medical devices are connected to a network and need to be protected,” notes Lee, who helped develop the curriculum for the University’s associate in health care IT program. “The Food and Drug Administration has even issued a warning to all hospitals to ensure that these devices are secure from cyberattacks.”
Advancement opportunities abound.
Almost every industry gives you the chance to work your way up the career ladder, but health care is one of the few that constantly adds rungs to climb. “Because the use of technology in the clinical environment is so new,’’ Moore says, “there are new roles evolving all the time.”