The economic impact of the Affordable Care Act remains unclear in its early stages, but should prove a boon for healthcare job seekers and, specifically, HIT professionals. In addition, these five industry trends point to another year of opportunity and HIT job growth in 2014.
Analysis of the healthcare job market from 2007-2011 shows a four-fold increase in HIT job listings as a percentage of all healthcare job postings. The authors attribute nearly half of that growth to the federal incentives contained in the HITECH Act, which sparked an industry-wide transition to electronic health records (EHR). Although the stimulus dollars will eventually begin to taper, many health systems are still in the early stages of major EHR implementations. Job growth and consulting opportunities should still be strong in 2014 for skills related to software installation, customization, building, and support as well as user training.
The October 2014 deadline for transition from ICD-9 to ICD-10 will mean continued employment opportunities for skilled ICD-10 coders and trainers and IT professionals familiar with coding systems and data. "Most of the concern is the learning curve associated with the transition to ICD-10," George Argus, of the American Hospital Association, tells HealthLeaders Media. Argus says hospitals should plan on additional staff during the first quarter of 2014 and additional overtime to meet compliance standards.
Revenue Cycle Management
As hospitals and health systems swap out or upgrade their revenue cycle management (RCM) technology, a consulting “bonanza” is projected for RCM specialists with financial, technical and project management skills. As reported in Fierce Health IT, analysts at Black Book Market Research say 86 percent of hospital C-level executives expect new RCM consulting engagements to be under way through the end of 2014.
Global wireless health spending will more than double by 2018 to $59.7 billion, according to a report cited in Healthcare IT News. Remote patient monitoring applications and mobile health apps are two growth areas that should promote IT hiring. At the health system and hospital level, full-time and consultant services are anticipated for mobile device management needs as an increasing number of employers adopt BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policies.
Health analytics spending is showing double-digit growth fueled by the needs of insurers and providers. In large health systems, as EHR implementations are completed, hospitals will transition their IT needs from data collection to actionable data analysis. The emergence of big data, improvements in analytic technologies and federal mandates are all key drivers that will mean new job growth for data architects and other personnel skilled in data warehousing, business intelligence (BI) and report writing.