Technology plays a central role in helping healthcare organizations accommodate a growing patient population, with innovations that improve medical practices, create new efficiencies and reduce operating costs.
These new innovations are also creating more technology-focused and specialty healthcare jobs, in areas such as health information management, nursing informatics and more.
Here are some of the ways technology has already begun to transform the healthcare industry and its workforce needs.
Specialists with digital skills are in demand
Technology has made it possible for healthcare providers to more effectively catalog and manage patient information via secure, electronic patient records. As a result, there is a growing demand for specialists who can code, digitize and create electronic patient records as well as health information professionals to oversee the entire process, check for accuracy and ensure that patient information is secure.
“In the future, medical coders need to not only understand the importance and applications of new coding technology but be able to use these new tools to ensure accuracy and increase efficiency,” says Loretta Hamilton, Program Chair of Medical Billing and Coding at Herzing University-Online.
The U.S Department of Labor predicts that employment for medical records and health information technicians will grow by as much as 13 percent through 2026—much faster than average for most occupations. A degree in medical coding can help individuals obtain entry-level roles in this growing field, and a bachelor’s degree in health information management can open the door to advanced management and leadership opportunities.
Data security is a growing field
While data is an important opportunity for the healthcare industry, it is also one of its biggest challenges. Cybersecurity is a major point of concern for today’s healthcare organizations, especially because a breach in the security of patient data could have long-lasting effects on an organization’s reputation.
Employment for information security analysts is expected to grow by 28 percent from 2016-2026, and increased security needs in the healthcare industry are an important driver that growth, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. A bachelor’s degree in technology or cybersecurity is often a prerequisite for these in-demand jobs.
Technology is the future of healthcare
Technology has limitless applications for the future of healthcare, but there is a significant need for more qualified technology professionals to lead its digital transformation.
A recent study from PwC reported that 75 percent of healthcare executives plan to invest in AI between 2018 and 2021, but few have the technical expertise to fully implement AI systems and leverage its capabilities. Companies should consider ways to acquire these capabilities, including partnering with technology firms or hiring the right expertise, PwC suggests.
Colleges and universities are expanding both their healthcare and technology program offerings to meet these evolving workforce needs, preparing students to take advantage of growing career opportunities in both sectors, and helping current healthcare professionals gain the skills and knowledge they need to prepare their organizations for the future.