Healthcare // Electronic Health Records
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4/22/2014
11:30 AM
Alison Diana
Alison Diana
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EHR Jobs Boom: 8 Hot Health IT Roles

Electronic health records have fueled a growing career specialty. Consider these in-demand health IT jobs.
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Electronic Health Records (EHRs) have created a burgeoning genre of health IT jobs. While health IT once accounted for between 5% and 10% of a hospital's IT budget, it now represents 25% to 35%, Kevin Holloran, a director in Standard & Poor's nonprofit healthcare group told Beckers Hospital Review. A large portion of that money goes toward EHRs -- both in terms of technology and people.

Hot EHR-related jobs range from entry-level medical record technicians to executive positions at hospitals and physician offices. Technician jobs alone are expected to increase 22% between 2012 and 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Approximately 272,286 people will be EHR technicians by 2022, compared with 186,300 two years ago, according to BLS estimates. But 73% of healthcare providers surveyed last year by Towers Watson reported difficulty hiring professionals certified to work with Epic, the leading enterprise EHR for large hospitals and health systems.

Health organizations don’t just need individuals to design, install, and implement EHRs, redesigning workflows and maximizing efficiencies. They also need trainers for classroom and virtual courses, consulting firms to provide ongoing support and maintenance, and mobile experts to integrate EHR data with mobile devices for patient access.

Even before healthcare organizations roll out EHRs, some hire clinical transformation specialists, who do the upfront work to understand the organization's clinical requirements and how these must be translated into the software, said Kimberly Bowden, president and CEO of health IT recruitment firm 1st Solution USA. The ranks of chief nursing information officers (CNIOs) are swelling, too, as hospitals recognize the invaluable role nurses play in smoothing the integration of technology into clinical processes, she noted.

The move to ICD-10, albeit delayed for another year, means healthcare organizations must hire people proficient in converting ICD-9 to ICD-10, Cherie Lester, senior healthcare IT recruiter at Holland Square Group told InformationWeek. Likewise, she sees an uptick in demand for "optimization specialists" who troubleshoot EHR implementations after they go live. In some cases, health IT professionals contract with healthcare organizations at an hourly rate for optimization work, Lester said. Fees range from $55 to $75 per hour for a trainer to $65 to $110 per hour for a senior analyst, she wrote in her blog.

More hospitals want someone, whether it's an internal employee or partner, to reap analytics value, said Bill Fera, a principal at EY. They want to avoid hiring or using dedicated IT-based data analysts and allow business users to generate their own queries and data, he told InformationWeek.

This approach starts at the top of some organizations. Providence Health and Services, for example, recently began recruiting a chief medical information officer (CMIO) to oversee the design of its EHR, according to Glassdoor.

It's challenging to move into healthcare from other verticals, executives cautioned. Business intelligence, analytics, and data-warehousing skills are more portable than most, said 1st Solution's Bowden. Top health IT-specific certifications include Certified Health Informatics Systems Professional, Certified Professional in Healthcare Information and Management Systems, and CompTIA Healthcare IT technician, according to the 1st Solution blog.

"Managers are much more open to taking people who are strong in [business intelligence and] have good SQL skills, and teaching them to be healthcare people. Still, if there are two people and one has healthcare experience and the other does not, the healthcare person will win every time," she said.

On the following pages, we present the EHR jobs we found to be most in demand, according to sources such as Salary.com, published reports, job postings, and recruitment sites. We consider salary rage, recommended certifications, and overall hiring outlook. Is there a role here that's right for you?

Alison Diana has written about technology and business for more than 20 years. She was editor, contributors, at Internet Evolution; editor-in-chief of 21st Century IT; and managing editor, sections, at CRN. She has also written for eWeek, Baseline Magazine, Redmond Channel ... View Full Bio

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Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Ninja
4/25/2014 | 10:43:27 AM
Re: Data science/predictive analytics
Yeah, it's a great experience.  Definitely one of the better tech conferences I've attended (although I've yet to attend one of the super-duper major ones, like SXSW).

Funnily enough, with those issues facing the industry and the conference fast approaching, this is my situation right now.

Even aside from all of this, the biggest conundrum that has been facing the health IT sector for years is figuring out how to make data more accessible/searchable.  The need for "a Google for health data" is frequently cited.
Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
User Rank: Author
4/24/2014 | 10:13:02 AM
Re: Data science/predictive analytics
Yes, @Joe, you are right on the money in that statement. Analytics' jobs are sizzling in pretty much every vertical; in healthcare, they're especially hot because this industry hasn't really focused on this capability in the past and it's now trying to reap more return from its often recent investment in EHRs and other digital solutions. Providers and payers have to seek out ways to reduce costs and improve care; analytics is the way to go. Simultaneously, they don't want to get trapped in doing it the old-fashioned way, using dedicated IT people to translate users' queries into tech-speak etc. Bio-IT World sounds like a great conference. I know you found a lot of useful info when you attended last year.
Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Ninja
4/24/2014 | 10:03:18 AM
Data science/predictive analytics
There's a significant demand in the field right now for data scientists -- especially when it comes to aggregating the data and using predictive analytics to use what treatments will and won't work on a variety of patients -- and then extrapolating that data to similar demographics.

Incidentally, this is one topic that is expected to be covered at the Bio-IT World Conference next week in Boston.  I'm really looking forward to hearing more about this!
Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
User Rank: Author
4/22/2014 | 5:35:05 PM
Re: Nursing informatics
Nurses spend more time with patients than doctors, typically, so it's wise of hospitals to equip one nurse with the technology, title and authority to oversee informatics (along with many other responsibilities). As in many other instances, a Master's degree was "preferred" and is the ideal for employers. I would imagine a candidate with all the other qualifications but who didn't have a higher degree would be a strong contender. 
Laurianne
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Laurianne,
User Rank: Author
4/22/2014 | 1:24:06 PM
Nursing informatics
Nurses with MBAs in informatics must be few and far between. But I can see where nurses (and hospitals) would very much want someone with nursing experience in this role, putting the numbers into the context of the realities of patient care. Sounds like a big opportunity.
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