One of the most important aspects of the healthcare industry is information technology
. The reason information technology is absolutely critical to the healthcare industry is due to the fact that the healthcare industry thrives on the storing of confidential patient information.
Not only does information technology store the confidential patient information, it also has to safely be sent and retrieved through various communication and technology channels securely.
We have put together the definitive guide on why healthcare information is important, and the list of the top 10 healthcare IT jobs for you to consider.
Why Is Healthcare IT Important?
Information technology became increasingly important as businesses and industries began the transition from offline systems to online systems through computers. Every industry was radically transformed with the transition, including the healthcare industry.
Information technology is important in every aspect — ranging from the finance department, human resource department, patient care, security, and communication.
Information technology has a tremendous impact on the healthcare industry. One example that healthcare information technology has radically changed for patients can be seen in the way healthcare professionals communicate with one another.
For instance, if a patient is meeting with a new physician and that physician needs critical documents to diagnose previous care efforts, and figure out where to move forward — they need to communicate with prior physicians that were overseeing the patient’s care to understand how to move forward.
The communication and transfer of the important healthcare documents is critical to effective and efficient patient care, and wouldn’t be possible without a secure information technology network.
Information technology is responsible for the safeguard of information as it is spread through various technology. Information technology isn’t just through various network cables as one would imagine.
It is also integrated in the various applications that doctors and nurses use when they interact with their patients to manage care, and the various forms of communication that interact with those software packages on a daily basis.
Imagine you’re in a hospital bed, and your nurse asks you to review your confidential information they have on file, and make any changes if necessary, as a requirement before they can provide you with any medicine.
The moment you sign off on the application or provide any new information that they didn’t have on your file beforehand, that information and your confidential information is then stored in the application, and then sent over the network for others to access at any given point.
Each one of the points of communication from the import of the information, storing, transfer, and recall of the information is a potential point of attack for malicious individuals, and needs to be secured.
Even though it can be quite expensive to implement IT safeguards at each step in the process, the beauty of information technology is that it can drastically reduce expenses for the healthcare industry.
If the healthcare industry is ultimately reducing expenses for the healthcare facilities and hospitals, then those savings ultimately help reduce prices for consumers and healthcare patients.
For instance, all communication and records used to be handled manually through paperwork. Once an individual was admitted into the hospital, they would have to fill out complex paperwork, that would then have to be manually stored and safeguarded for future care.
With information technology, all of the manual paperwork is essentially turned into a database that can be accessed remotely through an internet or LAN connection.
What once required time and effort to store information and go retrieve the individual file in a gigantic room with filing cabinets, can now be stored in a database and easily retried with a patient ID number or patient name in a search box in an application.
While information technology has certainly changed how paperwork and confidential information is used to store and retrieve personal information for medical records, it is also used to access new resources to diagnose and evaluate treatment methods.
In the example we used above regarding the hospital bed, it revolved around signing confidential patient documents. Information technology also helps track records of patient care on a real-time basis.
For instance, when a nurse gives you some prescription pills to consume while you’re receiving care they have to input when they gave it to you, how many they gave you, and then sign off on it.
That information can then be retrieved by the nurse later on in that shift, the nurse who assumes the shift afterwards can review that information, and then the doctor who oversees the patient care can review that information when they check-in.
We’ve also talked about how information technology is important for the finance operations in a hospital and healthcare facility.
Financial transactions are critical to both hospitals, and patients. Hospitals need to purchase the necessary equipment and medicine to provide to patients, and patients need to be able to pay for all the medicine and care they are receiving.
If any chain in the link gets broken between those financial transactions, then healthcare professionals cannot get the equipment and medicine they need, and patients can’t effectively pay for the healthcare services. This means that hospitals cannot provide care, and patients can’t receive care.
Information technology helps eliminate most of the concerns associated, and is critical to the healthcare industry.
The healthcare industry, like every other industry, has integrated computers into the daily routines of healthcare professionals, patients, and business. This means that information technology is critical to ensuring the future of patient care is both efficient and secure.
If you want to have a hand in ensuring that hospitals, healthcare facilities, and patients can receive that care, then you should consider a career in the healthcare industry as an information technology (IT) professional.
Top 10 Healthcare IT Jobs
1. Health Information Technician
The first job on the top 10 healthcare IT jobs to consider is the Health Information Technician. Health information technicians play a critical role in the healthcare industry by safeguarding important medical records for patients.
A health information technician’s main responsibilities
include using computer applications to gather and analyze patient records and data for improving the patient care and controlling expenses for hospitals and healthcare facilities. In addition, health information technicians are responsible for the quality of various healthcare medical records.
To ensure the quality of various healthcare medical records for patients, health information technicians review the documents to ensure they are complete, accurate, and have accurate entry into the various computer systems and applications in use by the hospital or healthcare facility.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Health Information Technicians on average make $39,180 per year.
If you’re interested in earning a degree as a Health Information Technician, here are some of the top 10 best online associate health information technology schools and programs
The second job on the top 10 healthcare IT jobs to consider for those passionate about information technology is: Medical Coder
. Medical coders have a bunch of responsibilities, but their main role boils down to being responsible for reviewing medical records and assigning various codes associated.
Medical Coders are tasked with knowing some of the most complex medical codes to ensure that they input the information correctly.
In addition, Medical Coders
are responsible for knowing various insurance policies to ensure that accurate billing takes place when they input some of the codes associated with each patient. Incorrect coding would mean that patients would either get undercharged, or overcharged.
This example demonstrates just how critical a Medical Coder’s job truly is. In addition, Medical Coders are responsible for managing and collecting on unpaid accounts, following up with patients, creating various accounts receivable reports, and contacting collections agencies to ensure proper payment if there are clients who refuse to make payment or default on their payments.
Medical Coders can expect to earn between $13.58/hr to $22.42/hr
. This translates to roughly $26,073.60/yr to $43,046.40/yr.
In addition, employment projections for Medical Coders is expected to rise over the next decade from 189,000 to roughly 285,900 projected openings.
This means that becoming a Medical Coder will not only ensure a solid paying job, but will also ensure that you have a solid job in the future.
If you’re interested in becoming a Medical Coder, take a look at some of the top medical coder degree programs
3. Medical Biller
The next job on the top 10 healthcare IT jobs that you should consider as a healthcare IT professional is becoming a Medical Biller.
Medical Billers are similar to Medical Coders in that their main responsibilities focus around proper billing and coding procedures. There are a few key differences though: Medical Billers focus on the organization and maintenance of the patient records within the database.
In addition, Medical Billers are responsible
for translating doctor’s notes to codes for proper billing and procedure details. Anybody who has read a doctor’s note knows this is a challenge, as Doctors tend to scribble when they right.
In addition to billing procedures, Medical Billers are responsible for recording and updating a patient’s treatment and medical procedures conducted. From there, the Medical Biller is responsible for looking through the history of a patient’s records and ensuring proper billing procedure is being followed.
According to PayScale, Medical Billers earn between $11.76/hr to $20.39/hr
. This roughly translates to $24,618/yr to $44,401/yr with bonuses and incentives included.
If you’re interested in becoming a Medical Biller, take a look at some of the top medical biller degree programs
4. Medical Records Clerk
If you’re one of those individuals who has a passion for collecting and maintaining data, then one healthcare information technology role you should consider is becoming a Medical Records Clerk.
Medical Records Clerks are responsible for gathering patient info through the use of various demographic information, interacting with various physicians, and retrieving information from printers.
In addition, Medical Records Clerks are responsible for maintaining
and completion of accurate reports for various patients and patient care. All of the records on individual patients are under the keen eye of Medical Records Clerks.
After keeping track of the medical records and updating them, Medical Records Clerks are also responsible for providing that information to any physician or healthcare professional that needs the records to review prior care and recommend treatment options for patients moving forward.
This is a great role for those healthcare professionals who are passionate about data collection and updating it to the best standards and procedures.
Medical Records Clerks can typically earn between $10.06/hr to $16.64/hr
. This roughly translates to $20,966/yr to $35,605/yr with bonuses and incentives included.
One of the unique qualities about being a Medical Records Clerk is that historically the job satisfaction for the role has been quite high
when polled by various agencies.
This means if you’re looking for a job that you’ll enjoy and get to interact with a wide host of individuals, then you should consider a career as a Medical Records Clerk.
If you’re interested in becoming a Medical Records Clerk, take the time to review the top medical records clerk programs
5. Medical Records Technician
Medical Records Technicians are very similar in their respective duties to some of the other roles we’ve covered earlier in our list of the top ten healthcare IT jobs. Similar to some of the other roles Medical Records Technicians are responsible for reviewing a patient’s history and then conveying that history to respective healthcare professionals.
The proper communication of those medical records to the appropriate healthcare professionals ensure that they receive the appropriate medication and testing for various medical procedures.
This is to ensure that there are no overlaps when it comes to the level of care that a patient receives. If a patient has already been tested for something or had a medical procedure done in the past, you wouldn’t want them to undergo the same tests or procedures and waste both time and money.
This is why a Medical Records Technician is so critical for effective and efficient healthcare treatment.
In addition to some of those responsibilities, Medical Records Technicians are also responsible for scanning and indexing
the proper paperwork so that it can be input correctly into online databases and record keeping systems.
Medical Records Technicians can expect to make between $11.20/hr to $19.07/hr
. This roughly translates to $23,516/yr to $43,004/yr with incentives and bonuses included.
If you’re interested in becoming a Medical Records Technician, take the time to review some of the top medical records technician degree programs
6. Medical Billing Specialist
The sixth job on our list of the top 10 best healthcare IT jobs is a Medical Billing Specialist. Medical Billing Specialists are roughly the same as Medical Billers, but there are a few differences.
A Medical Billing Specialist is responsible for a variety of things. First, they are responsible for checking the billing data with the patients and healthcare organization to ensure that there are no errors.
If there are errors, the Medical Billing Specialist is in charge of identifying and fixing them quickly — to ensure that there are no problems when charges are made and payments are processed.
In addition, Medical Billing Specialists are responsible for preparing various invoices
or bills for patients, and then recording the amount due in the appropriate medical record-keeping procedures and software.
The next responsibility that Medical Billing Specialists are responsible for is to review the various medical records to ensure that the appropriate fees and charges are associated with the correct patient.
Medical Billing Specialists can expect to earn between $12.20/hr to $20.48/hr. This roughly translates to $25,751/yr to $44,852/yr with bonuses and incentives included.
If you’re interested in becoming a Medical Billing Specialist, take the time to review some of the top medical billing specialist programs
7. Clinical Documentation Consultant
The seventh healthcare IT job you should consider if you’re interested in a hands-off role within the healthcare industry is becoming a Clinical Documentation Specialist.
Clinical Documentation Specialists differ from the other jobs on our list of best healthcare IT jobs in that they work with some of the clinical trials
that a patient might undergo. Some of those clinical trials also include clinical service documents.
These important clinical trials and clinical service documents serve as the guiding point for those Medical Coders
who are responsible for up-keeping medical records, and reports.
For those individuals who want to ensure the integrity behind clinical trials and clinical services, you should consider becoming a Clinical Documentation Consultant.
Clinical Documentation Consultants typically earn between $42,402/yr to $95,504/yr
If you’re interested in becoming a Clinical Documentation Specialist, take the time to learn more about what is required to become a Clinical Documentation Consultant
8. Application Analyst
For those individuals who are interested in some of the more technical programming or development information technology jobs in the healthcare industry, then one career you should consider in our top 10 healthcare IT jobs is becoming an Application Analyst.
If you’re unsure of whether or not you want to be hands-on in the healthcare industry and directly work with patients, then you should consider a role that doesn’t involve interacting with patients — but is directly responsible for the level of care that a patient might receive.
If this sounds like you, then you should definitely consider becoming an Application Analyst. Application Analysts are responsible for developing various software that will help improve overall healthcare and patient treatment needs.
These software packages can be anything that you can potentially think of or that a client might request. For instance, it might be developing a more well-rounded accounting software for the hospital or healthcare facility, or creating software that tracks potential treatment methods and develops algorithms to map positive and negative outcomes.
In essence, you can build anything that might be useful to the healthcare industry in a variety of ways.
As the healthcare industry continually evolves into incorporating more technology to improve patient care and patient outcomes, Application Analysts are needed in large volumes.
The average earnings for a healthcare information technology (IT) Application Analyst
is between $45,955/yr to $96,029/yr.
If you’re interested in becoming an becoming an Application Analyst, take a look at the top application analyst programs
9. Network Technician
Similar to the Application Analyst, a Network Technician is responsible for some of the more technological side in the healthcare industry. Earlier in our list of the top ten healthcare IT jobs to consider, we’ve mentioned how important the internet connection or network is for all the software and confidential data that needs to travel from one place to another.
Network Technicians are directly responsible for ensuring the safety and implementation of the network for hospitals and healthcare facilities.
Network Technicians have a variety of responsibilities that include designing and installing
of various computer networks, cabling, and connections.
In addition, Network Technicians are responsible for troubleshooting any problems that might arise from various network bottlenecks and network infrastructure issues. Solving these problems ensures an efficient up-time for the hospital or healthcare facility network, which ultimately impacts the rate and efficiency that hospitals and healthcare facilities can treat patients.
Network Technicians are also responsible for the important maintenance, upkeep, and backups that ensure proper healthcare treatment.
The average earnings for Network Technicians
within the healthcare IT industry is between $13.31/hr to $30.53/hr. This roughly translates to $30,112/yr to $68,952/yr with incentives and bonuses included.
If you’re interested in becoming a Network Technician, take a look at the best network technician programs
across the country.
10. IT Programmer
The last but not least of our top ten healthcare IT jobs for you to review when considering a career in the healthcare information technology field is becoming an IT Programmer. IT Programmers are very similar to Application Analysts in that they focus on developing code and software for various information technology needs.
The difference between the two is that IT Programmers are specifically focused around information technology and the data associated with IT.
For instance, where an Applications Analyst might create software technology that creates an application that makes it easier for healthcare professionals to keep track of important data, records, and metrics — IT Programmers specialize in the collection, storage, and access
of confidential information related to the healthcare industry.
In addition, IT Programmers are responsible for also responsible for safeguarding the information technology networks by writing complex code that helps protect the networks against intrusion and data corruption.
If you’re interested in a role that involves working in the healthcare industry and safeguarding patients and the hospital and healthcare facility networks through programming, then this is one of the jobs that you should consider.
One of the benefits of working as an IT Programmer for the healthcare industry is the lucrative earnings you could potentially earn. The average earnings for IT Programmers within the healthcare industry is typically between $31,000/yr to $84,000/yr
If you’re interested in becoming an IT Programmer, then you should look at some of the top IT programmer degree programs
in the country.
As one can see, there are plenty of benefits to working in the healthcare industry as an IT professional.
As the healthcare industry continually evolves and incorporates more applications, software, and technology across the hospital and healthcare platforms — healthcare IT professionals are in high demand to safeguard the information, improve efficiency of the software/applicatoins, and innovate patient treatment methods moving forward.
For more information on some of the best healthcare careers you can have in a hospital or healthcare facility, take a look at our Career Profiles
, and review some of our other News & Career Advice