7 skills needed to be competitive in the health IT job market

Health IT hiring continues to grow — a recent HIMSS study showed healthcare providers hired more IT staffers in 2013 than in 2012, and most healthcare providers plan to hire at least one full-time IT employee in the coming year.

American Sentinel University offers the following seven skills health IT professionals need to be competitive in the current job market.

1. Adaptability. As healthcare reform and government mandates continue to change, IT professionals need to be aware of the latest trends and ready to adapt to changing parameters.

2. Innovativeness. Also in response to the ever-changing nature of healthcare reform, health IT professionals will have to think in new ways to respond to the changing environment while also leading development of new care models.

3. Effectively communicative. Much of health IT is focused on developing new and better ways to communicate information and big data. "The greatest leaders have always been able to rely on strong communication skills," said Blair Smith, PhD, dean of Informatics-Management-Technology programs at American Sentinel University. "Moving to a data driven culture presents new demands where the accelerated availability of data has rendered the decision of what is useful and what to communicate as important as how to communicate it."

4. Understanding of applications. Applications and data management are growing in importance as healthcare organizations are turning their focus to measuring quality and standards. Health IT professionals need to be able to navigate these elements.

5. Knowledgeable of information management. Issues of security and compliance are circling the industry, and providers are seeking candidates with information management security skills to help them remain HIPAA-compliant, especially as data is increasingly moving from one place to another.

6. Risk management expertise. "Healthcare needs IT professionals that can create the appropriate structure to govern security and know how to protect information and address breaches from a compliance perspective," Dr. Smith said.

7. Business savvy. Healthcare is increasingly looking for business intelligence and analytics expertise as it is collecting more data than ever.

"Technology and healthcare are two ever-changing industries," said Dr. Smith. "When the two collide it creates dynamic and exciting challenges for health IT professionals. EMR implementation has become the focal point, and while it offers tremendous capabilities, it also creates a multitude of challenges for today's IT professionals. Those with in-demand skills will find themselves far more marketable."

More articles on the health IT workforce:

Health IT employee satisfaction: 10 key findings
Survey: Health IT workers desire higher compensation

Providers' top 3 barriers to hiring top IT staffers

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