When you think of a career in the healthcare industry, what pops into your mind? Images of a doctor with a stethoscope, a nurse comforting a patient, or a physical therapist helping a patient improve physical movement after an injury? While doctors, nurses, therapists, and other healthcare providers provide a valuable service and are well-respected for their work, not all careers in the healthcare industry involve hands-on work with patients. In fact, many healthcare workers never meet the patients they help. One of the lesser known career paths in the healthcare industry involves technology.
Healthcare and Technology – A Unique Mix
From telemedicine and electronic medical records management to optical imaging equipment and bio-robots, the healthcare industry is changing rapidly and technology is playing a starring role in its evolution. The healthcare industry needs IT professionals and engineers as much as it needs doctors and nurses.
Examples of Healthcare Technology Occupations
Health informatics is a discipline that integrates advanced technologies with healthcare in order to improve the diagnosis, treatment, and outcome of diseases and injuries. If you were to pursue a health informatics career, you’d play an important role in delivering effective and efficient healthcare. Using a blend of IT systems knowledge and expertise in both patient care and medical data management, health informatics professionals work with doctors, nurses, and other staff members to develop, launch, and optimize health information systems. Health informatics professionals are also involved in analyzing and interpreting medical and clinical information.
Healthcare IT is another specialized discipline that blends technology with healthcare. Like traditional IT professions, this occupation focuses on computers, servers, networks, hardware, software, devices, and related services. However, the healthcare industry has its own unique needs, challenges, and regulations to comply with. If you’re interested in IT and healthcare, a career as a healthcare IT professional could provide you with the best of both worlds. Your contributions could make a difference in the way doctors access data, order lab work, or collaborate with specialists. Equipped with the right technologies, doctors can quickly pull up patient histories, animations, drug interactions, care instructions, and other information. By implementing technologies in compliance with applicable HIPAA regulations, you can help the healthcare facility deliver better service and protect patient information at the same time.
Other occupations in the healthcare technology field include:
- Data analyst
- Compliance manager/HIPAA officer
- Electronic health records manager
- Clinical database manager
- Pharmacy systems analyst
- Healthcare risk manager
- Chief healthcare technology officer
- Medical device engineer
- Medical records technician
- Cancer registrar
How Your Technology Skills Can Make a Difference
While a career in healthcare IT can be enjoyable and lucrative, many people enter the healthcare industry with a desire to make a difference in the lives of patients. Though your role may be behind the scenes, your skills can indeed make a difference. For example, donor registries, which are powered by technology, save lives by matching those in critical need of a blood transfusion or a bone marrow or organ transplant with suitable donors. On a smaller scale, equipping medical staff with tablet computers and medical apps could allow doctors and nurses to spend more time with patients or lead to fewer medical errors.
Healthcare and technology are a great mix, and the technical side of healthcare is a viable career option.