The economy’s growth might be slow, but hiring in healthcare IT should continue to be strong for the foreseeable future. One big driver: the growing use of electronic health records and the resulting need for technology professionals who can build and maintain EHR systems. Indeed, the impact of EHRs can be seen in hospitals’ IT budgets: InformationWeek notes that where once they represented between 5 and 10 percent of the tech dollars spent, they now account for 25 to 35 percent.
Even beyond EHRs, healthcare organizations continue to face a growing need for tech professionals – a need that’s not easy to satisfy. Between 2010 and 2020, the University of Illinois at Chicago predicts a 21 percent increase in health IT jobs. Some 50,000 jobs in healthcare informatics alone will need to be filled within the next five to seven years. Last year the professional services firm Towers Watson found that 67 percent of healthcare providers faced difficulties finding experienced technology professionals. Thirty eight percent had retention issues. The challenge was particularly acute when it came to hiring professionals certified with Epic, the leading EHR platform: 73 percent couldn’t find the people they needed with those credentials.
The range of available health IT jobs runs the gamut from developers to technicians, trainers and analytics specialists. The jobs that InformationWeek says are most in demand include Epic security specialists, Cerner consultants and analysts, Epic trainers, EHR directors and chief nursing informatics officers.
Not all of these jobs are in-house. Consultants and contractors play a big role in the design, implementation and operation of EHR and other health technology systems. For example, organizations often bring in “optimization specialists” to troubleshoot and streamline their EHR platforms after they’ve gone live, says InformationWeek. Contractors in that area can make anywhere from $55 to $110 an hour, depending on their role.
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