The healthcare industry is one of the fastest growing in the United States today. Although nursing positions are still the highest posted available positions, another industry related to healthcare is fast approaching nursing as a growing field for those who want to enter healthcare. Health informatics, which links technology and communication with healthcare, is gaining importance in the country.
Affordable Care Act
Much of this growth can be attributed to the passage of the Affordable Care Act, often called Obamacare, which provides incentives to healthcare providers to use electronic methods for patient records, treatment protocols and other data related to the health of individuals. In addition, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid are also offering incentives related to the meaningful use of technology in providing healthcare. Therefore, individuals with a background in healthcare data collection, analysis and reporting will be highly sought after in the healthcare industry.
Types of Positions
There are many types of positions in the healthcare informatics field, and the number of specialties is expected to grow over the next few years as more incentives and mandates push the use of electronic information in the healthcare industry. There has been a decline over the past several years in the need for jobs that require little skill such as medical records clerks while the need for medical coder positions, which often require Coding Specialist certification, has grown significantly. Those with an understanding of disease classification systems are currently in especially high demand. In addition, clinical documentation specialists and clinical improvement analysts are also a growing field within the health informatics industry. Postings for those types of jobs doubled between 2007 and 2011, now constituting as much as 16 percent of the positions available.
The need for higher education in the healthcare informatics field has also grown tremendously. Many employers are now requiring certification and post-secondary degrees for positions in their informatics departments. Many are also requiring a background in the healthcare industry as well. Therefore, those who plan to enter the health informatics field should begin their careers in entry-level healthcare positions while working towards a post-secondary education through such programs as UIC’s medical informatics degree. Online degrees offer the flexibility necessary for working professionals to further their education and gain the skills necessary to further their career in health informatics or make a change to a new career.
Health informatics is a growing industry with a significant number of job postings available already. However, experts say that the industry will only continue to grow as mandates and incentives increase in order to move the healthcare industry forward with technology.