By Ken Terry
Partially due to an infusion of federal funds, the healthcare industry is creating IT jobs faster than other industries, according to a new Bureau of Labor Statistics report. The number of IT positions in healthcare is expected to grow 20 percent annually through 2018, the report says.
Since 2009, the number of health IT jobs has increased 67 percent, according to an article in Computerworld. Online employment agency SimplyHired.com, lists 7,200 open positions in the field, the article points out.
Most in demand are CIOs and CTOs, but jobs in health IT administration also are growing rapidly, SimplyHired.com’s database reveals. Since 2009, database administrator positions have grown 94 percent, and other administrative jobs in networking, systems and storage have also seen strong growth. In addition, the healthcare industry needs thousands of software developers and system analysts.
Overall, the BLS report notes, healthcare and social services jobs are expected to grow 24 percent from 2008 through 2018. Healthcare support jobs will increase by 1.1 million during that time period–more than any other service job category. However, healthcare employment took a nose dive in July, according to a report just released by The Conference Board.
In health IT, BLS predicts that a rise in medical testing, treatments and procedures performed, and electronic health record use all will be pivotal in terms of growth. “[M]ore technicians will be needed to complete the new responsibilities associated with electronic data management,” the report notes.
The problem that many hospitals and other providers encounter in filling these jobs is the shortage of qualified, experienced health IT staff. While the federally funded training programs in 82 community colleges may help meet some of the demand, the majority of the available positions are not entry level, say consultants and CIOs.