Digital Innovations Creating New Healthcare Opportunities
Burning Glass Technologies and Jobs for the Future (JFF) collaborated to develop a report for JFF’s “Credentials That Work “initiative. This report studied the growth in health informatics career opportunities over recent years. For those of with an interest in the field, it will come as no surprise that online job postings for healthcare informatics grew 36 percent in the years 2007 to 2011.
That was just the beginning as new opportunities continue to emerge due to ongoing advancements in the collection and dissemination of medical and patient data. Some of these fast-growing career areas include:
Telemedicine – also known as telehealth – allows providers to use their resources more efficiently by monitoring patients within their homes or other remote locations. This is especially useful for patients in rural communities and/or those with chronic health conditions. Early intervention based on telemonitoring data feeds can help eliminate the need for hospitalization.
Opportunities have been created for individuals to develop and install the remote access systems, assess incoming patient data, and report on aggregate findings as to the effectiveness of telemedicine. Rural communities can also apply for government grants to improve healthcare access for tribal groups and other underserved populations.
Clinical Decision Support
Clinical decision support (CDS) leverages clinical informatics technology to improve healthcare delivery and workflow management. Technologies can include computerized alerts, disease-specific order sets, patient data summaries, diagnostic support tools, and other applications that can make biomedical computations based on patient and unit-specific needs.
Hospitals are eager to invest in CDS initiatives because of the potential to increase quality outcomes, avoid patient care errors, and otherwise improve efficiency, cost and satisfaction. Individuals interested in clinical decision support will find opportunity as part of larger EHR system initiatives dedicated to improving patient safety through technology-assisted care.
The informatics discipline is playing an increasingly important role in the study of public health threats and trends. The collection and analysis of public health data can monitor the annual spread of various strains of the flu, track the medical impact of contaminated foods, identify bacterial infections immune to antibiotics, and spot early signs of bioterrorism activity.
There are efforts underway for greater access to public health data, as well as increased reporting through informatics technologies throughout the U.S. healthcare system. Public health informatics can be a fascinating concentration for individuals interested in the greater good of all people, across America and around the world.