Why Healthcare IT Is Hot

by QuickCert on February 23, 2011

hospital-IT-Is-Hot

U.S. hospitals are racing to get a bite of the government’s stimulus pie, which was baked to encourage healthcare providers to get their information technology updated. The clamor has created new IT job opportunities within an always growing industry; and has turned “healthcare IT” into the industry’s latest buzz phrase.

But what does this healthcare hub-bub mean to you – the average IT pro – and what skills do you need to grab a piece of the pie while it’s hot? The following are a few of the most in-demand expertise:

Application Development
The application rage brought on by virtualization and SaaS (i.e., cloud computing) hasn’t bypassed healthcare. But unlike many other businesses, hospitals pursuing the new technologies must also maintain patient confidentiality and comply with HIPPA and other regulatory demands.

This complex environment, calls for complex solutions; and a quality application developer can expect a quality paycheck for services rendered.

Network Support
The massive chunk of the government’s stimulus is meant to encourage hospitals to modernize their Electronic Medical Record (EMR) systems. These systems allow physicians to update patients’ EMRs through a variety of methods, including phone calls (i.e., voice recognition), PDAs and iPad tablets.

This means it’s crucial hospitals have experienced network support specialists on staff. And a 2011 Health IT Survey revealed this is trend on the rise, with 65% of respondents reporting they’ve deployed personal devices for physicians – or have plans to do so by the end of 2012 – to make it easier to update patients’ records.

Security Systems
Data is mushrooming as populations grow, technology advances and regulations compound. Not only do healthcare institutions have to compile and consolidate it, they need to ensure it’s easily accessible for their appropriate personnel, while inaccessible by everyone else. (There are government fines and personal lawsuits ready and waiting for a hospital to fail to do so.)

If you’re already in IT, you know security and its relevant certifications (e.g., MCSE, CCNA, CompTIA Security+, etc.) are in demand. So just imagine how well an IT pro, with security credentials and in the healthcare industry, will prosper.

The Takeaway
There may never have been a better time than now for an IT pro to step into the healthcare vertical. But although the industry is starved for IT expertise, the most in-demand skills will reap the highest rewards. In other words: prove your skills and improve your paycheck.

To do this, you’ll need to couple your experience with the most relevant certifications you can earn (in the field of your interest) – then add both to your resume. This is crucial, because although IT positions are plentiful, so is your competition for them.

And in the healthcare world – where physicians’ skills and education are heralded — you can bet their IT hires are held to some pretty lofty standards.