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Healthcare industry leads market in IT hiring

CIO, CTO positions in strong demand

August 4, 2011 06:00 AM ET

Computerworld - Flush with federal funds and under the gun of federal regulatory deadlines, the healthcare industry is leading the market in IT jobs creation, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics job placement services.

The bureau indicated that IT jobs in healthcare are expected to grow by 20% annually through 2018, "much faster than average." There are currently 176,090 healthcare IT jobs, according to the agency.

Since November 2009, healthcare IT positions have increased 67%, according to online job search engine SimplyHired.com, which lists 7,200 open healthcare IT positions out of 4.9 million jobs on its website.

Leading the pack from a percentage of increase perspective are CIO and CTO positions, according to Dion Lim, COO of SimplyHired.com. Since 2009, CIO positions in the healthcare field have increased 101% (more than 200 current job listings) and chief technology officer positions have increased 127% (about 100 job listings).

"My experience has been that CIOs from other industries are being hired into healthcare," said Robert Booz, a vice president and distinguished analyst with market research firm Gartner. "People who were in retail banking or manufacturing are being brought into the healthcare world to bring their lessons learned from other industries."

Booz said CIOs and CTOs are given the responsibility of being agents of change, using the lessons learned in other industries to bring the healthcare industry up to speed. Healthcare has been a slow follower in IT adoption, but today is being driven by federal regulations requiring it to roll out electronic health records (EHRs) and to implement best practices in care through standardized medicine.

Among these regulations, the federal government is requiring a changeover from the current ICD-9 medical coding system to ICD-10 by Oct. 1, 2013. The effort has been under way since 2008, yet most hospitals have not begun the changeover, according to the American Hospital Association.

ICD-10 adds about 68,000 new codes that describe medical conditions and treatments, and will affect databases and EHRs, billing systems, reporting packages, and other decision-making and analytical systems. The changeover will require major upgrades or the replacement of current IT systems.

In addition to ICD-10, by 2012, healthcare providers must upgrade from the current version of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) to the HIPAA 5010 standards, which address new rules for claims management systems, including transaction uniformity and the streamlining of reimbursement transactions.

IT administrators

Jobs in healthcare IT administration are also seeing strong growth, according to the SimplyHired search engine. Since 2009, database admin jobs have grown by 94% (400+ jobs); network admin positions have grown by 64% (100+ jobs); sys admin jobs have increased 43% (about 100 jobs), and storage admin positions have grown by 37% (about 100 jobs).



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