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What Jobs Will Healthcare Stimulus Funding Create?

What Jobs Will Healthcare Stimulus Funding Create?

Josh Rossheim / Monster Senior Contributing Writer

Healthcare IT Jobs Will Get a Huge Boost

President Barack Obama sees healthcare information technology (HIT) in general, and electronic medical records (EMRs) in particular, as keys to improving the quality of care while reducing costs. Working with Congress, the president secured a major investment in HIT when he signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act into law.

As a result, tens of thousands of IT professionals will be hired into the following roles, according to Richard Howe, a vice president of HIT consulting firm Healthcare Informatics Associates: Developers who create or customize EMR software for hospitals; systems integrators who bring together a multitude of legacy applications; IT trainers; and clinical consultants — RNs, lab technicians, pharmacists and others — who will apply their knowledge of hospital operations to the implementation of EMR systems.

HIT projects will require software engineers, analysts and technicians, as well as IT and IS managers. Their expertise will be deployed on projects including medical informatics, consumer health informatics, healthcare management software and healthcare information security. “There will be a significant demand for tech workers with strong security credentials,” says Steven Ostrowski, a spokesman for CompTIA, a technology industry association.

Many HIT jobs will be open to experienced IT professionals from other industries. “By the nature of the evolving discipline of HIT, there’s a lot of learning on the job,” says Thomas Horan, an associate professor of information technology at Claremont Graduate University.

But a host of other healthcare systems jobs may require specialized academic training. Institutions such as Claremont are ready with a master’s program in health IT, while DeVry University offers degree programs in healthcare information systems and technical management with a health information managment specialty.

When will the HIT jobs begin to flow? “The money will start to become available in late 2010 or early 2011,” Howe says. “But if a hospital wants to take full advantage of the federal funding, they have to be ready with a qualified EMR system, and that takes two or three years.” For that reason, many hospitals will quickly ramp up their efforts to lay the foundations for EMRs.

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