The Patient Protection and Affordable Care website might be an unhealthy mess, but jobs in health care tech are up and running.
From a career in bio-engineering to creating an application that takes images of a patient’s heart, abdomen, or unborn baby, it’s the biggest employment trend.
Recent studies by the Food and Drug Administration found that the majority of Americans plan to use social media and the Internet to find and review care providers, to check their symptoms, or to track their own health data. Mobile health and medical applications for smartphones are predicted to reach 142 million downloads by the year 2016.
Although the mess in Washington probably won’t be fixed before flu season ends, there are careers that you can count on to make you and your bank accounts feel better.
If you’re a techie, and you’re not into changing bedpans, you might look into a career as a bioengineer. This is the study of organ transplants, minimally invasive surgical techniques, skin grafting, gene therapies, and artificial organs and limbs.
If the sight of blood makes you feel faint, perhaps a job as a clinical coding specialist, data quality manager, medical records supervisor, or insurance claims analysts – all jobs which work directly with health records and applications systems.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 8 out of 20 occupations projected to grow the fastest are in healthcare. Healthcare provided 13.5 million jobs in 2004 and more new healthcare jobs – about 19 percent, or 3.6 million – are projected to be created between 2004 and 2014.
Carla Villegas of El Cajon thought she wanted to be a nurse, but found she wasn’t cut out for it. “Touching sick people turns out to be harder than it looks,” she said. “It just wasn’t for me. I still wanted to help people, so I decided to get into the medical records side and get into health systems administration. It involves a lot of computer classes and apps. It seems like it changes every day, and we have new programs to study. I feel like I got in on the ground floor of this new side to health care.”
Medical and health services managers bring home an average of $84,270 per year according to the BLS. Degree requirements vary from two-year online programs to bachelor’s degrees for entry-level positions.
In a new U.S. Employment Outlook report published by Simply Hired, authors say that the healthcare industry leads among all other employment industries in the number of job openings available in September, with nearly one-third of all new job postings relating to the healthcare industry.
According to the report, job openings increased in nearly all industries in September (16 out of 18). The healthcare industry posted 360,151 jobs in September, a 5.4 percent growth from August and a 30.1 percent growth from a year ago, said the report.
Healthcare is a little slow on the uptake when it comes to technological innovation, but once they iron out the kinks in the implementation of Obamacare, healthcare tech is predicted to take off.
Josh Rolen of La Mesa now lives and works in San Jose and just signed a contract to sell his remote patient monitoring application to a large medical firm. “Everyone I know in technology is jumping on the healthcare bandwagon. People want to live forever it seems, and since everyone has a smart phone the two can go hand-in-hand.”
Technology jobs have created such innovative devices as electronic aspirin, robotic check-ups, and telemedicine – a virtual creation to help doctors reach out to more patients.
“If entrepreneurs are looking for a direction that hasn’t been overrun with ideas, healthcare is the direction you need to take,” Rolen said. “In the past it wasn’t sexy or cool, but at this point, I don’t see how it can be anything but a growing field.”