Health IT and Expanding Your Clinical Background

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Most people with a clinical background become doctors or nurses. However, if you’re ready for a new career challenge, you needn’t start from scratch. This area of specialty can provide a valuable springboard for entering the exciting new world of health information technology, or health IT as it’s commonly called.

Jobs in specialty areas like health informatics have grown by 36 percent over the last four years, according to a 2012 report from Burning Glass Technologies and Jobs for the Future, and information technology professionals with clinical backgrounds are perfectly poised to take advantage of a range of opportunities in these fields. Read on to discover how gaining qualifications in health IT can help expand your professional horizons.

Become a Health IT Developer or Engineer

Image via Flickr by GotCredit

While working as an IT developer or engineer in the healthcare sector may seem more suited to someone with experience in information technology, some experts believe employers should favor candidates with clinical experience. Their understanding of clinical workflow can help them perform common health IT development and engineering tasks, including building electronic order sets for computerized physician order entry systems and modifying existing orders to suit a hospital’s medication formulary.

Find Work as a Clinical Application Analyst

A strong clinical background is vital for success as a clinical application analyst. Their medical experience gives these clinical application analysts a unique insight into the way that healthcare facilities operate which they apply to improving clinical workflow and application functionality. They’re responsible for designing, implementing, maintaining, and training staff in the use of clinical and business systems. Clinical application analysts serve as a bridge between the worlds of patient care and clinical technologies, and a clinical background and recent IT education prepares them for this beautifully.

Manage a Health Informatics Department

A range of organizations have health informatics departments, including hospitals and medical clinics, mental and behavioral health facilities, pharmaceutical and biotech companies, and public health agencies. These businesses favor people with clinical backgrounds and relevant advanced degrees, such as a Master of Science in Health Informatics, as they can understand IT developments from the end-user’s perspective. These healthcare informatics managers can draw on their broad knowledge base to anticipate problems that clinicians might have with IT tools and explain their department’s capabilities to clinicians requesting system changes.

Take on a Research Role

An advanced degree in health IT also opens clinicians up to opportunities in health IT research. Researchers in this field find employment with medical research laboratories, healthcare facilities, and universities. These professionals help design user-friendly technologies to improve healthcare for providers and their patients. Many health researchers working at universities also spend time teaching the next generation of health IT experts.

Building on your knowledge with a course in health IT can help you land a job in some of the health industry’s most exciting growth areas. Remember to maintain your clinical licensure and certifications, as these will give you a competitive edge when applying for a range of roles in health IT.


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