American Sentinel University offers tips to HIT professionals for gaining a competitive edge in the health care marketplace.
A recent study by HIMSS shows demand for qualified HIT professionals is at an all-time high and a candidate’s skill set is the differentiating factor when filling a position. The skill most desired is that of an IT professional who has clinical workflow and terminology experience.
“Technology and health care are two ever-changing industries. When the two collide it creates dynamic and exciting challenges for health IT professionals,” says Blair Smith, PhD, dean of Informatics-Management-Technology programs at American Sentinel University. “Electronic medical record implementation has become the focal point and while it offers tremendous capabilities, it also creates a multitude of challenges for today’s IT professionals. Those with in-demand skills will find themselves far more marketable.”
The list of challenges includes data management, application management, patient privacy, HIPAA compliance, business intelligence and analytics, and risk management.
The HIMSS study found that a higher percentage of respondents said that their organizations were interested in either training current employees or hiring recent graduates to fill needed positions, but 85% of respondents said their organizations faced barriers meeting their HIT needs. The majority cited a lack of qualified talent and 40% of those surveyed said they have open positions for which they cannot find qualified talent.
“Employers want to hire candidates with a health technology degree or certification that are prepared from day one on the job,” Smith says, adding that it’s important for students to choose a degree program that is relevant to today’s industry needs.
He details some of the must-have skills HIT professionals need to make themselves more marketable. “Look for programs that use immersive learning technology to foster program comprehension so that you can immediately apply what you learn to your work to positively impact your career,” Smith says. “This will help differentiate you from other candidates and position yourself for a successful career in this fast-growing industry.”
• Adaptability to Change: The ability to adapt to changing parameters is very important in health care because health care reform and government mandates are ever-changing. “It’s important that health IT professionals be alert to the latest trends and be prepared for how it will impact your health care facility’s plan and goals,” Smith says.
• Innovativeness: Health care is ever-evolving and HIT leaders will be challenged to think in new ways, adjust to change, and lead change while creating new models of care. “The phrase ‘innovate or die’ has never been more true than now as we enter the transformation that is pivotal to the future of health care worldwide,” Smith says.
• Communications Savvy: The race for information is on and the ability for HIT professionals to be adept at finding new and better ways to communicate greater amounts of data and information will become increasingly important. “The greatest leaders have always been able to rely on strong communication skills. Moving to a data-driven culture presents new demands where the accelerated availability of data has rendered the decision of what is useful and what to communicate as important as how to communicate it,” Smith says.
• Applications Know-How: As health organizations begin looking for solutions to measure quality and standards, Smith says IT professionals will play a critical role to guide them through the technology maze of applications and data management.
• Security and Compliance: It is crucial that health care facilities be HIPAA-compliant and protect patient health records. This becomes more challenging for IT professionals when information is collected in one place and required to move from one environment to another, Smith says. This has created a greater need for skills in the information management security side of health care.
• Risk Management: Most health care organizations place a strong emphasis on data management and data security. This critical need to manage and protect health information has created a demand for IT professionals with this particular expertise. “Health care needs IT professionals who can create the appropriate structure to govern security and know how to protect information and address breaches from a compliance perspective,” Smith says, adding it’s crucial that health care organizations have a plan in place to address potential losses and information breaches, and know how to be protected in the future.
• Business Intelligence and Analytics: Business intelligence and analytics are a way for health care organizations to aggregate better quality information. “The industry is currently putting greater emphasis on finding newer and more aggressive [business intelligence] and analytics tools, which has created a higher demand for those IT professionals with these skills,” Smith says.
“As the health care industry continues to be a bright spot for the economy, IT professionals with the right education and skills will have ample opportunities to enjoy a long and promising career in this exciting field,” Smith adds.
Learn more about American Sentinel’s online informatics and technology programs at www.americansentinel.edu/informatics-technology.
— Source: American Sentinel University
MBA Healthcare Management has released a new featured article to provide prospective graduate students with up-to-date information about the most affordable master’s-level programs offered in health informatics. “Top 25 Master’s in Healthcare Informatics Degrees Ranked by Affordability” is a well-researched calculation of the best US-based universities that are addressing the nation’s growing career trends blending computer science with health care. As a handy new addition to the free educational guide, the ranking article was developed to aid aspiring health information managers to receive essential graduate training with the highest return on investment for their time, money, and effort.
As one of the thriving health care field’s newest emerging disciplines, informatics has developed in response to the nation’s increased reliance on computer systems to organize secure patient health information. Due to the recent shift to new payment models and the large amount of patient data within EHRs, more health care organizations are looking to hire qualified health informaticists in the red-hot field of clinical data analytics, which is poised to grow by 37.9% before 2016. MBA Healthcare Management has ranked the most affordable informatics master’s degrees to help prepare students for in-demand career opportunities with a short job hunt and low student loan debt.
In choosing the top 25 master’s degrees in health care informatics by affordability, the researchers compiled a list of factors to represent overall quality of the programs, including accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education, membership in the American Medical Informatics Association’s Academic Forum, innovative online learning formats, emerging trends research, and integrated hands-on experiences. Using in-state tuition statistics from the College Navigator, MBA Healthcare Management then chose the 25 cutting-edge programs meeting these criteria that had the lowest tuition expenses. The ranking is a useful tool for students looking for health informatics degrees that offer unsurpassed educational benefits at the best value for their buck.
25. University of Michigan
24. Saint Louis University
23. University of Pittsburgh
22. College of St. Scholastica
21. University of Minnesota
20. University of Washington
19. Grand Valley State University
18. Temple University
17. University of Illinois at Chicago
16. Oregon Health & Science University
15. The Ohio State University
14. University of California, Davis
13. University of California, San Diego
12. Arizona State University
11. University of Kansas Medical Center
10. University of Maryland University College
9. University of Missouri
8. University of Indiana
7. University of Nebraska Medical Center
6. University of Texas Health Science Center
5. University of Colorado
4. University of Mississippi Medical Center
3. Louisiana Tech University
2. University of Utah
1. Marshall University
More detailed information about the most affordable master’s degree programs in health care informatics as ranked by MBA Healthcare Management can be found at http://mba-healthcare-management.com/best/masters-healthcare-informatics.
— Source: MBA Healthcare Management