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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Cerner consultant and analyst
Epic training
Chief nursing informatics officer
Epic analyst and consultant
ICD-9/ICD-10 project manager

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, 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?

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