For many, the idea of pursuing a technical degree is linked to dreams of working as a prominent figure in major companies such as Google or Facebook. Unfortunately, the competition for even small positions within these companies is stiff, leaving many recent grads wondering where their skills cn be put to use.
Perhaps the greatest misconception within the technological field is the idea that graduates need to pursue careers directly linked to new product development and maintenance. Most don't even really consider fields indirectly associated with the tech industry as job options. Although they may not be companies known for their cutting edge developments, most of these other industries are willing to pay highly for young grads with big potential. One example: hospitals.
A Growing Gap
The idea of applying to work for the local hospital generally might not even occur to many recent tech grads. It just doesn’t seem related in the slightest. However, many healthcare facilities are desperately seeking professionals that can help them implement the waves of new technology that are cropping up next to patient bedsides and changing how doctors and nurses communicate.
Desperate pleas from hospitals undergoing these tech-induced changes are prompting many universities to develop curriculums to meet their needs. For instance, the University of Cincinnati recently developed a program that is designed to give graduates both hospital and technical experience--effectively killing two birds with one stone. The program seeks to offer graduates a Master’s degree in health informatics and a Bachelor’s in information technology.
Arguably the biggest reason for the need for tech professionals in the healthcare industry is the implementation of electronic health records (EHR) as part of the Affordable Care Act. EHRs are intended to combine all of a patient’s medical history, billing information, lab reports, etc. into one form that can be accessed by any medical professional or hospital administrative assistant whenever necessary. Ultimately, this will make hospitals less clunky and more like a well-oiled machine by enabling doctors to send and receive information quickly, reducing transcription errors, and lowering wait time.
Problems began arising almost as soon as hospitals attempted to complete steps for successful implementation. Most doctors and nurses are not trained to use the equipment, which has led to a number of malfunctions and has caused many programs to become a greater hassle than expected. Administrators have identified a huge need for people trained in managing technology to help the transition go smoothly and to continue to maintain the tech into the future.
Careers within the health IT field are expected to grow at a rate of 7.4 percent yearly as more and more hospitals adopt EHRs and need to hire professionals. Not only that, but the wages are likely to continue increasing as well, with current salaries starting around $70,000. Outside of large tech companies, pursuing informational technology in a hospital setting is one of the best ways in ensure career stability and profitability.
A great number of people want careers where they are able to help people improve their lives every day. But many avoid the healthcare industry because they feel they are too squeamish to become a doctor or a nurse. Utilizing a technical degree in the healthcare world is a great way to still help while avoiding the more negative aspects of a careers in strictly health.
About the author
Brittni Brown is a recent graduate of The College of Idaho; she currently works for a local marketing company. In her free time she enjoys a variety of outdoor activities including hiking, biking, and camping.
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