Technology will play an increasingly important role in the cost-effective delivery of healthcare services in the coming years, and experienced IT professionals will be in high demand. There are several key reasons for this trend:
More and more physician groups, hospitals and other providers are adopting electronic medical record (EMR) and electronic health record (EHR) systems. After the initial investment and learning curve, EMR/EHR systems have the potential to improve clinical care and provide operational efficiencies. In addition, being able to send patient data from one provider to another in a consistent format will be essential with the growing adoption of accountable care organizations (ACOs) and other integrated delivery models.
Mobile technology will make it easier for patients and families to connect with their physicians and clinics in non-traditional ways. For example, some hospital ERs are using text messages to promote their services. Other providers have developed mobile applications to provide healthcare information or strengthen their ties with patients and families.
Consumers today are using social media, websites and other online services to learn more about medical conditions, check references on healthcare providers or get information and medications and side effects. Physician and hospital rating services are becoming more popular as well, and healthcare organizations have learned the importance of responding to online comments and opinions.
Healthcare organizations of all sizes need robust networks with “big pipes” capable of conveying large quantities of data - such as radiographic images - to the diagnostic or treating physician. Organizations also need to invest in new data mining and business intelligence tools that take advantage of existing databases.
Clearly, IT professionals are becoming strategic partners with caregivers and administrators in achieving an organization’s quality, cost and revenue objectives. If you are considering an IT career, you may want to focus on the healthcare sector - a field with almost limitless possibilities for the future.