I recently read someone asking about the Healthcare Informatics opportunity. They were working in another area of informatics and they wondered how much opportunity there was in healthcare informatics. He wanted to know what kind of job prospects there were, whether it was hard to find a healthcare informatics jobs, and where we thought the healthcare informatics profession was headed.
These are all very good questions. Let me take a stab at answering them from what I see happening.
First, Healthcare Informatics isn’t going anywhere. The need for people who know and understand healthcare informatics is really growing. Plus, we’re seeing a lot more full time healthcare informatics positions being hired in organizations as opposed to being outsourced to consultants. I think we all agree that IT in healthcare is only going to become more important and require more people to manage it all.
One sign that this is a growing need is to look at the growing number of healthcare informatics programs at Universities. We’ve done a lot of work with UIC’s Healthcare Informatics programs over the years as they’ve sponsored our Health IT Career eNewsletter. Just about every week I’m discovering a new healthcare informatics program pop up at another University. I believe that all these healthcare informatics programs are a sign of the need for more healthcare informatics professionals.
How’s the job market for these professionals? I’ve found the job market to be quite good. If you search the health IT jobs at Healthcare IT Central, there are a lot of jobs out there that companies are trying to fill. No doubt, the jobs are out there and many organizations are having trouble filling them. However, I do know a few people that are having a challenging time getting these jobs.
The two biggest reasons I’ve seen people can’t find jobs in healthcare informatics is: Lack of Healthcare Experience and Location Requirements.
The former is much easier than the later. Yes, it’s a bit of a chicken and egg problem, but I suggest to those interested in healthcare informatics, that you beg, borrow, and steal (figure of speech, don’t really steal) your way to get some healthcare experience. We’ve written before about how healthcare hires on qualifications and not talent in far too many cases. One of those qualifications is usually “healthcare experience.” Find any way possible to be able to show that qualification and it will open you to many more opportunities. The later problem is much more difficult. If you can’t move or travel, then you have limited job opportunities and some places don’t have as much need as others. Patience and networking is the only solution I know to this challenge.
All in all, I think it’s a great time to work in the healthcare informatics field. There are lots of jobs and lots of demand for people who can do a good job. No doubt healthcare is a bit messy, but cleaning up the mess and extracting value can be really rewarding work.